Burton Denies Moore Delistment Reports
BANNOCKBURN, IL—Robert Burton has been fighting fires on a number of fronts.
The president and CEO of Moore Corp. denied a published newspaper report that the company was about to be delisted from the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSE) and that it was relocating its operations from Chicago to Connecticut.
Another news organization reported that shareholders and retired employees of the company sharply criticized board members during its annual meeting in April.
Burton believes a report in the Toronto Globe and Mail that stated the company was in danger of being delisted by the TSE and was relocating, "does not accurately reflect where we are at in the decision-making process regarding strategic alternatives for the company. We are certainly under no threat of being delisted from the exchange and have no voluntary plans to delist from the exchange." He expects the company to continue to enjoy a longstanding relationship with both of the exchanges.
Burton attributed the relocation report to confusion involving the company's real estate ventures. He said Moore is currently examining opportunities, including one that would entail relocating some back-office functions out of the Chicago area. Other plans include "right sizing our real estate portfolio, which may cause the close or relocating of some offices into other facilities more appropriately sized to meet the needs of our customers.
"The examination of our real estate portfolio in no way indicates an intention of the company to move off of either the TSE or NYSE," Burton adds.
Burton and the company's board of directors had their hands full during April's annual shareholder meeting. The Canadian Press (CP) reported that a number of shareholders leveled mismanagement charges against the board in light of Moore's lackluster performance over the past few years. The CP noted that Moore lost more than $66 million last year on sales of $2.26 billion.
Much criticism has been aimed at the $261⁄2 million severance payment given to former CEO Ed Tyler, replaced by Burton. Seeking to plug Moore's financial sieve, Burton implemented a $100 million U.S. cost-cutting plan that included cutting 1,300 jobs.
Moore is also facing a legal challenge from 5,300 employees in response to the company's plan to take a multimillion dollar surplus on its pension plan. The CP reported that the surplus, once worth in excess of $200 million, is currently valued at around $160 million due to a decline in its investments.
In other news, the company announced it has completed the sale of Colleagues Group Limited—Moore's United Kingdom-based advertising and direct marketing business—through a management buyout. In a separate transaction, Moore also announced it has divested in VISTAinfo, an online provider of real estate products and services, to Fidelity National Financial.
The divestments support Burton's cost-reduction initiatives. Financial details of the transactions were not disclosed.
"While the U.K. direct marketing business and the online real estate business are niche operations, they are not core to our future growth, do not offer synergies with our core businesses, and are draining management focus and resources away from our core forms and labels and integrated business solutions operations," Burton stresses. "This action directly supports my commitment to significantly reduce Moore's operating costs by eliminating activities that distract us from our focus of delivering shareholder value.
"Earlier this year, I committed to reducing Moore's operating costs by $100 million in order to create a company that can consistently deliver increased value for our customers, our shareholders and our employees. Actions, and results, in support of this commitment are starting to mount and momentum is starting to build in our favor," he adds.