Glencore takeover of Viterra may close later: Agrium

Wed Jun 13, 2012 10:30am EDT
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By Rod Nickel

(Reuters) - Glencore International PLC's (GLEN.L: Quote) takeover of Viterra Inc VT.TO may close in August, slightly later than expected, the chief executive of Agrium Inc (AGU.TO: Quote) AGU.N said on Wednesday, but a source close to Glencore said the company is still working toward closing the deal in July.

The C$6.1-billion ($5.9 billion) takeover requires the Canadian government's approval, and a competition review of Glencore's side deals to sell some assets to Agrium and Richardson International Limited will begin after Glencore's transaction closes, Agrium CEO Mike Wilson told the company's investors in Chicago.

"We were hoping (Glencore) would close in July, it might drag into August," Wilson said, who did not say why he thinks the Glencore-Viterra deal might be delayed.

"Can't wait to get Viterra into the fold."

Agrium would acquire 232 of Viterra's Canadian farm-supply outlets, 17 farm outlets in Australia and a minority stake in the Canadian Fertilizers Limited (CF.N: Quote) plant at Medicine Hat, Alberta, for C$1.15 billion ($1.12 billion).

Other Viterra assets, such as some Canadian country grain elevators, would go to Richardson International Limited.

Once Glencore's takeover of Viterra closes, Canada's Competition Bureau would begin a 45-day review of Glencore's deals with Agrium and Richardson, Wilson said.

Some Canadian farm groups have raised concerns about competition in the retail fertilizer sector after Agrium's purchase, but Wilson said it is no coincidence that Agrium is not buying all of Viterra's farm-supply assets.   Continued...

The logo of Glencore is seen in front of the company's headquarters in the Swiss town of Zug May 9, 2012. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann