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by Stockwatch Business Reporter
West Texas Intermediate crude for June delivery added $3.34 to $105.36 on the New York Merc, while Brent for June added $2.27 to $107.59 (all figures in this para U.S.). Western Canadian Select traded at a discount of $12.65 to WTI, up from a discount of $12.80. Natural gas for May lost 45 cents to $6.89. The TSX energy index added 11.80 points to close at 245.26.
Oil sands producer Suncor Energy Inc. (SU) rose $5.07 to $47.22 on 39.7 million shares, as a famously aggressive activist investor snagged the market's attention. Paul Singer's Elliott Investment Management, which today revealed a 3.4-per-cent interest in Suncor -- making it one of the company's largest shareholders -- has begun pushing for a board shake-up and other changes. The hedge fund has previously won battles with companies such as Twitter, AT&T and Samsung.
In taking aim at Suncor, Elliott noted that the company's share performance has severely lagged other oil sands companies such as Canadian Natural Resources Ltd. (CNQ: $80.15) and Imperial Oil Ltd. (IMO: $64.12). "[Suncor] has seen a decline in the exceptional performance that was formerly its hallmark," wrote Elliott portfolio manager Mike Tomkins and partner John Pike in a letter to Suncor's board. They ran down a list of problems such as "missed production targets, delayed timelines and repeated safety failures," many of which they blamed on a "slow-moving, overly bureaucratic corporate culture that appears to have lost [its] dynamism."
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