Investor Mario Gabelli wants a seat on National Fuel Gas Co.'s board of directors.
Gabelli, whose bid to get National Fuel to spin off its utility business was widely rejected by shareholders early last year, now has nominated a representative, Lance A. Bakrow, for a seat on the Amherst energy company's board.
Bakrow, 59, is the co-founder and a director at Greenwich Energy Solutions, a private company that provides independent energy solutions in the northeastern United States.
Gabelli's proposal carries weight because the money manager's company, Gamco Asset Management, is National Fuel's second-biggest individual investor, owning 7.8 percent of the company's stock, down from 9.1 percent in January. The Vanguard mutual fund company is National Fuel's largest shareholder, owning a 10.6 percent stake.
Gabelli had sought the spin-off of National Fuel's utility business, arguing that the company’s share price was being depressed because it mixes the lower-risk utility business with a much chancier but faster-growing oil and natural gas drilling operation, as well as a growing pipeline business.
National Fuel, on the other hand, contended that the diverse mix of businesses made its operations less volatile and helped it maintain an investment-grade credit rating that reduced its borrowing costs for its growing pipeline and drilling businesses.