Operations at Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd., whose chief executive is battling a fierce challenge from the company's biggest shareholder, are setting records for performance this year, CEO Fred Green said on Tuesday.
Speaking at an investors meeting in Toronto, Green said CP's most recent operating numbers show Canada's No. 2 railroad is becoming far more productive and efficient.
U.S. activist investor William Ackman's Pershing Square Capital Management, which has a 14.2 percent stake in CP, says the company's performance is the worst of any railway in North America and is urging shareholders to remove Green and replace him with hard-nosed former Canadian National Railway CEO Hunter Harrison.
But Green said that in the first two months of this year CP's train speed was up 15 percent and its yard dwell down 29 percent, compared with the average of the past three years.
"This is not about a soft winter and easy year-over-year comparisons," Green told an audience of about 150.
"We are setting new records," he said.
CP's investor day meeting comes seven weeks after Ackman held a similar, but larger, event in Toronto to lay out his reasons for wanting Green to be replaced by Harrison, who, he says, is better suited to improve CP's operating performance.
Shareholders will vote on Ackman's move at CP's annual meeting on May 17.
Green said that some of Pershing's analysis of CP's operating metrics is "flawed". It is "wrong" about CP's pricing and service quality as well as its railcar and locomotive utilization, he said.
"I don't mind criticism but I do think it's reasonable to ask that it be based on facts," he added.
Earlier in the day, Green told Reuters in an interview that CP's shareholders are pleased with the direction the company is taking and with the improvement in its operations.
"What we've found is that there's an awful lot of change that is occurring in the company and people are just delighted with the amount of change that's happening and how it's manifesting itself in superb operating metrics," Green said.
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