The largest investor in Parkland Corp. says it’s considering options to safeguard its rights after the Canadian fuel retailer moved the annual meeting to a date later this month — restricting the shareholder’s ability to nominate directors or vote in disagreement with the board.

Last week, Parkland filed a notice that it will hold its shareholders’ meeting on March 28 this year, instead of the usual timing in May. The date matters to Simpson Oil Ltd., which owns about 19.7 per cent of Parkland, because until March 31, it’s bound by an earlier agreement that prevents it from putting up its own directors for election to the board, or opposing the board’s chosen nominees. 

After March, “Simpson Oil will evaluate and consider its ability to fully exercise and protect its shareholder rights,” the Cayman Islands-based firm said Sunday. 

Calgary-based Parkland is one of Canada’s largest owners of gas stations and has a stock market value of about $7.5 billion. The tension between the company and its biggest shareholder has been simmering for months. 

In December, Simpson Oil’s two members on Parkland’s board resigned after less than a year, with little explanation. Simpson and Parkland have publicly disagreed about the status of governance and nomination agreements that they had signed — agreements that prohibited Simpson from engaging in any public activist efforts against the company. 

Under the terms of those deals, Simpson Oil is currently restricted from making any disparaging comments about the company or any of its executive or employees, according to Simpson. 

“Simpson Oil waived its rights under the nomination agreement on 31 December 2023 in the expectation that it would be able to exercise its shareholder rights free from any restrictions at Parkland’s 2024 AGM,” the statement Sunday said. 

Parkland has made a number of changes to its business over the past year after U.S.-based activist investor Engine Capital LP publicly pushed the fuel retailer to sell some assets, cut costs and change how executives are paid. 

Parkland shares rose 44 per cent last year in Toronto after three straight years of losses.