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Ferro Investors to Nominate Three Directors in Proxy Fight

Jan. 24 (Bloomberg) -- A group of investors in Ferro Corp., a U.S. chemical producer, plans to nominate three people for election to the company’s nine-member board because of “historic and current under-performance.”

FrontFour Capital Group LLC and Quinpario Partners LLC and their affiliates will nominate Jeffry N. Quinn, David A. Lorber and Nadim Z. Qureshi to the board, the group said today in a statement. The investment companies own a combined 2.83 million shares of Ferro, about 3.3 percent of shares outstanding, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Ferro, which makes materials used in electronics, coatings and glass, announced the resignation of Chief Executive Officer James F. Kirsch in November and appointed an interim CEO while it searches for a successor. The company should sell its solar-paste and pharmaceutical businesses and the nominees should be directly involved in hiring a new CEO, the investor group said in a letter to shareholders.

“We are concerned that the unsatisfactory past performance of the current board and its management team is a precursor of further disappointing performance to come,” Lorber and Quinn said in a letter to shareholders accompanying the statement. “Further shareholder value must not be destroyed.”

Ferro declined to comment, Mary Abood, a spokeswoman for the Mayfield Heights, Ohio-based company, said in an e-mail.

Historical Declines

Ferro gained 2 percent to $4.97 at the close in New York, the highest price since May 11. The shares have gained 19 percent this year.

Ferro declined 15 percent last year and 80 percent in the five years through the end of December. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index gained 13 percent last year and declined 2.9 percent in the five-year period.

Quinn is chairman and CEO of Quinpario. He held the same positions at Solutia Inc., a St. Louis-based chemical maker, until the company was acquired by Eastman Chemical Co. last year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Lorber is a managing member of FrontFour. Qureshi was named senior vice president for Solutia in August 2011.

FrontFour in 2011 nominated four people to serve on the board of Fisher Communications Inc. Two of the nominees were voted onto the board.

To contact the reporter on this story: Jack Kaskey in Houston at jkaskey@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Simon Casey at scasey4@bloomberg.net

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