Get ready for Battle of the Boardroom, Round Two.
A year ago, Consolidated-Tomoka Land Co.’s annual shareholders meeting featured a showdown between its senior management and its largest shareholder, as New Jersey-based Wintergreen Advisers LLC mounted an unsuccessful campaign to gain control of the Daytona Beach-based public company’s board of directors.
Wintergreen, which owns and/or manages roughly 27 percent of the company’s common stock shares, is hoping for a different outcome this time around.
When Consolidated-Tomoka shareholders convene for this year’s annual meeting on Wednesday at the clubhouse for LPGA International in Daytona Beach, they will be asked to elect seven people to the board from among 11 candidates, including three nominated by Wintergreen: David Winters, the investment adviser firm’s managing director, Liz Cohernour, its chief operating officer, and Evan Ho, a Wintergreen consultant.
All three, as well as another Wintergreen consultant who was on the ballot, lost their election bids last year as all seven existing board members were reelected, including Consolidated-Tomoka Chairman and CEO John Albright.
Winters received the fewest votes of all candidates, according to Laura Franklin, Consolidated-Tomoka’s chairman, who in a public statement released last December urged Wintergreen to withdraw its nominations of Winters, Cohernour and Ho for this year’s election.
At issue is Wintergreen’s stated intent to once again explore the possibility of either selling Consolidated-Tomoka or liquidating its assets, which include 8,100 acres in Daytona Beach, mostly in the area surrounding the Interstate 95/LPGA Boulevard interchange.
Consolidated-Tomoka in 2016 hired Deutshe Bank, at Wintergreen’s urging, as an independent financial adviser to evaluate ways to “maximize shareholder value” including either a sale of the company or selling off its real estate holdings.
That “strategic review” resulted in two all-stock merger offers for approximately $50 a share that were deemed insufficient at the time.
Since Albright became CEO in 2011, Consolidated-Tomoka’s stock price has risen from $28 a share to $61.54 a share as of the close of Wall Street trading on Thursday, roughly the same level it was at a year ago.
The company, however, just completed a record year for earnings, with net income soaring to $7.53 a share, up from $2.86 a share in 2016 and $1.44 a share in 2015.