Bloomberg News

Harper Says Many Viterra Assets Will Remain in Canadian Hands

March 25, 2012

Glencore International Plc (GLEN)’s $6.1 billion bid for Viterra Inc. (VT) will keep many of the acquired company’s assets in “Canadian hands,” Prime Minister Stephen Harper said.

Harper commented today at a news conference in Tokyo on Glencore’s proposed acquisition of Viterra, Canada’s biggest grain handler. As part of the transaction, Calgary-based Agrium Inc. (AGU) will acquire about 90 percent of Viterra’s Canadian retail facilities. Glencore has also agreed to sell assets to Richardson International Ltd., a unit of Winnipeg-based James Richardson & Sons Ltd.

“My understanding of the deal is that many of the assets will actually remain in Canadian hands, so I’m not sure it really would be categorized at this point as primarily a foreign investment,” said Harper, after meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda.

The deal shows how much interest there is in the Canadian grain and agriculture sector, which is “a tremendously good thing,” Harper said.

He added that such interest is “genuinely welcomed by farmers, and our main concern is always that farmers will retain choice in terms of their marketing options going forward.”

Under the Investment Canada Act, the federal government reviews foreign acquisitions of companies with assets valued at more than C$330 million ($330 million). The C$16.25-a-share offer announced by Baar, Switzerland-based Glencore will also require approval from Canada’s Competition Bureau, which said it would be reviewing the proposed transaction.

To contact the reporter on this story: Andrew Mayeda in Ottawa at amayeda@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Jarrett Banks at jbanks15@bloomberg.net


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