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Published: Friday, 3/17/2006

In year of bankruptcy, Dana cancels shareholders meeting

BY JULIE M. McKINNON
BLADE BUSINESS WRITER

This year, in which Toledo's largest corporation filed for bankruptcy, shareholders won't get a chance to question executives face to face.

Dana Corp. will not hold its annual shareholders meeting this year, a gathering it has held for two years at its nearby Ottawa Lake, Mich., research facility.

"Our board of directors determined holding the meeting wasn't the best use of our resources under the current circumstances," spokesman Chuck Hartlage said yesterday.

But shareholder Etson Hougland of Fort Wayne, Ind., said directors should have the session to answer questions about why they opted for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, filed March 3 in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in New York.

The former Dana employee said he lost $5,000 on shares he recently sold.

"As a stockholder, I think by all means they should have a stockholders meeting and hold these people accountable to the stockholders and other stakeholders of this corporation," Mr. Hougland said.

The 102-year-old company had 41,877 shareholders at last count.

With no annual meeting, the firm will not issue a proxy. But material usually contained in the proxy, such as executive compensation and stock ownership, will be in the Fortune 500 firm's annual financial report for 2005 filed in the next several weeks with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, Mr. Hartlage said.

Before filing for bankruptcy, Dana said it would release its fourth-quarter and full-year financial results by mid-March. But in an SEC filing yesterday it said the information would be filed by April 30.

The annual meeting was moved to Ottawa Lake after the company was criticized for holding the event in a Richmond, Va., lawyer's office. Those out-of-the-way gatherings were attended by few investors or even directors. But the nearby meeting attracted 80 people last year.

Contact Julie M. McKinnon at:

jmckinnon@theblade.com

or 419-724-6087.



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