KENT, Wash. (AP) - Flow International Corp., which makes industrial waterjet machines used for cutting and cleaning, said Thursday it would not sell the company and go private, despite a bid from one its largest shareholders.
The company said after analyzing its options with the assistance of two investment banks, it decided to continue executing its current business plan. In a letter to employees filed with regulators, Flow International Chairman Kathryn Munro said the company examined an outright sale, repurchasing shares, a change in dividend policy and staying the present course.
''At the present time, the best way for the company to maximize shareholder value is continuing to execute its plan,'' Munro said in the letter, adding, ''We are optimistic about Flow's future.''
Munro cited Flow International's recent increases in revenue, debt repayment and a return to ''solid profitability.''
The company reviewed its options in response to pressure from the hedge fund Third Point Management, which owns a 13.6 percent stake in the company. Third Point first broached the idea of a sale on Feb. 2 after its current chief executive, Stephen R. Light, announced plans to retire when a successor was found. It reiterated its position on April 4 and on April 24. Third Point's Daniel S. Loeb said the investment firm would launch a bid for the company.
''We believe that we can present to the board an attractive option that the board can weigh against the other possibilities, and we believe the board would be remiss not to avail itself of this opportunity,'' Loeb said at the time.
Loeb claimed the company's small scale of operations and the cost of its public company status recommended a sale.
Munro also said in the letter that the company has made ''significant progress'' in its search for new CEO and hopes to complete the process soon.