Richardson bulking up, not selling out

Tue Mar 20, 2012 3:36pm EDT
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By Rod Nickel

WINNIPEG, Manitoba (Reuters) - Fresh off executing the biggest acquisition in its 155-year history, Canadian grain handler Richardson International Limited is eager for more growth and turning a deaf ear to suitors for the family company, president Curt Vossen said in an interview with Reuters.

Swiss-based Glencore's friendly takeover of Canada's leading grain handler Viterra VT.TO spins off to privately held Richardson a beefed up role in handling, processing and marketing Canadian crops.

Suitors have already come calling on Richardson, Vossen said.

"Sure we've been a player in that regard. Do we have any intention of responding to those (inquiries)? No, our shareholders have indicated a strong desire to make this a seven-, eight-, nine-generation play, and they've got a few more to go."

Glencore will take the bulk of Viterra's grain-handling assets in Western Canada and Australia. Richardson scooped up 19 Canadian grain elevators, 13 attached farm retail outlets, a grain port terminal in Thunder Bay, Ontario and a one-quarter interest in a port terminal at Vancouver, in a C$900 million purchase.

Richardson also picks up some food processing plants in Canada and the United States.

Most of Viterra's farm retail outlets, which sell seed, chemical and fertilizer to farmers, will go to Calgary, Alberta-based Agrium (AGU.TO: Quote).

The global agricultural industry should expand as the growing world population boosts demand for food, whipping up interest in some existing players.   Continued...