Mining magnate and lawmaker Clive Palmer plans to introduce a bill into Australia’s parliament opposed to the planned A$2.2 billion ($2.1 billion) takeover of GrainCorp Ltd. (GNC) by U.S.-based Archer-Daniels-Midland Co. (ADM:US)
“This is a great national institution that we don’t want to sell,” Palmer, who heads the Palmer United Party, told Sky News television today in an interview. “The infrastructure that GrainCorp controls, it affects the market access for a lot of people, and that’s what they’re interested in doing, choking off Australian supply.”
The takeover by Archer Daniels, the world’s largest corn processor, is drawing opposition from farm groups and lawmakers, including members of Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s ruling coalition. A U.S. company hasn’t previously been prohibited from buying assets in Australia under its foreign investment regime, said Malcolm Brennan, special counsel for King & Wood Mallesons, who deals with over 10 percent of the business cases brought each year before Australia’s Foreign Investment Review Board.
GrainCorp, eastern Australia’s largest crop handler, declined 1.1 percent to A$11.47 at the close of trading in Sydney, the lowest since April 19.
Treasurer Joe Hockey is due to rule on the takeover Dec. 17, following a recommendation from Australia’s Foreign Investment Review Board. There’s a 30 percent chance the deal will be blocked, according to JPMorgan Chase & Co.
Palmer plans to present the bill to the lower house on Dec. 9, spokesman Andrew Crook said by phone. Greens member Adam Bandt and independent members Bob Katter and Andrew Wilkie told a press conference today in Canberra that they supported Palmer’s plan.
While Palmer’s bill would be set to fail because Abbott’s Liberal-National holds the balance of power in the lower house, he may need support of the Palmer United Party in the upper house, to pass laws from July 1, when the new Senate sits.
The final make-up of the Senate is still unknown after missing ballots emerged in a recount in Western Australia. The balance of power may be held by a group of right-leaning, minor parties including Palmer United.
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