Blue Harbour Group's Robbins Says AGCO Offers Margin Growth

  • Robbins speaks at 13D Monitor's activist summit in NYC
  • Blue Harbour sees global growth for farm-equiment company

Cliff Robbins, founder and chief executive officer of Blue Harbour Group, said farm-equipment supplier AGCO Corp. is poised to benefit from stronger margins and an eventual rebound in agricultural spending.

Blue Harbour owns about 7.9 percent of AGCO’s shares, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The Duluth, Georgia-based company, with a market value of about $4.3 billion, is the third-biggest agricultural equipment company, Robbins said, distributing and servicing tractors, combines and sprayers.

AGCO is strongest in the stable European farming equipment market, has growth potential in Brazil, and also owns 24 percent of Indian tractor company Tafe Motors and Tractors Ltd., Robbins said Tuesday at 13D Monitor’s Active-Passive Investor Summit in New York. Company efforts to standardize some equipment engineering will lower costs, he said.

Self-described as a “friendly” activist, Blue Harbour manages about $3.2 billion and typically shuns hostile tactics like proxy fights, preferring to talk to management about corporate changes it expects will reward shareholders.

The Greenwich, Connecticut-based firm has taken core activist stakes in more than 50 companies as diverse as burger chain Jack in the Box Inc., women’s clothing retailer Chicos FAS Inc., oil-driller Nabors Industries Ltd., and Internet performance improver Akamai Technologies Inc.

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