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Starboard's Smith unveils Colfax stake, says business is undervalued

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NEW YORK, Oct 6 (Reuters) - Activist investment firm Starboard Value on Wednesday said it owns a stake in Colfax Corp and said the industrial equipment maker is undervalued.

"The company is at an inflection point," Starboard Value's founder Jeffrey Smith said at the 13D Monitor Active-Passive Investor Summit on Wednesday.

News that Starboard, one of the industry's most prominent activist investors, had taken a position pushed Colfax's stock price up 3.55% in pre-market trading.

Earlier this year Colfax announced plans to separate its industrial and medical devices businesses into two publicly traded companies following a strategic review of its operations.

Smith also said Starboard plans to push for changes at chemicals producer Huntsman Corp., in which it owns a 8.4% stake and which is valued at roughly $6.8 billion.

Huntsman has improved its portfolio mix and has strong businesses, Smith said, however saying there is room to improve revenue. "The company is not getting credit for what it has done," Smith said, adding "We believe this company is a good company."

Huntsman was founded by Jon Huntsman and is now run by his son, Peter. It listed its shares in 2005.

Starboard is known for pushing for operational fixes and has at times pushed a company to put itself up for sale.

The 13D Monitor conference is one of the first conferences to have in-person participants, requiring attendees to prove they are vaccinated against the coronavirus.

Previously Starboard pushed for changes at Corteva Inc where the company agreed with the hedge fund to add three Starboard-backed directors earlier this year.

It is known in the industry for having won big victories at Darden Restaurants in 2014 and at GCP Applied Technologies last year and traditionally wins more board seats than any other activist investor, according to bankers and analysts. This year it lost a proxy battle at Box Inc, its first in nearly a decade.

(Reporting by Svea Herbst-Bayliss; Editing by Emelia Sithole-Matarise)