(Bloomberg) -- Incitec Pivot Ltd., an Australian maker of explosives and fertilizers, is preparing to replace its chief executive officer amid investor pressure over its performance, people with knowledge of the matter said.
The Melbourne-based company could announce as soon as this week that CEO Jeanne Johns is stepping down, the people said, asking not to be identified discussing private information.
No final decisions have been made, and the firm’s plans could still change, the people said. A spokesperson for Incitec Pivot declined to comment.
Incitec Pivot outlined a proposal in May last year to spin off its fertilizer unit, leaving the existing company focused on its Dyno Nobel business — one of the world’s top suppliers of explosives to the mining sector. Its shares have lost around a fifth of their value since then, giving Incitec Pivot a market value of about A$5.9 billion ($3.9 billion).
Some investors have opposed that strategy, arguing it would create two small businesses with higher costs and more limited access to debt markets. The plan has also been complicated by an agreement in March for the near $1.7 billion sale of an ammonia plant near New Orleans, removing a key US asset from the proposed fertilizer firm.
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Johns, a chemical engineer who previously held a range of roles with BP Plc, was appointed as CEO in 2017.
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