Agrium sees purchase of Viterra farm stores in early '13

Wed Nov 14, 2012 11:08am EST
 
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By Rod Nickel

(Reuters) - Canadian fertilizer company Agrium Inc AGU.TO AGU.N expects to close its C$575 million ($575 million) purchase of Viterra Inc's VT.TO farm retail stores in the first quarter of 2013, after Glencore GLEN.L completes its takeover of Viterra, Agrium Chief Executive Mike Wilson said on Wednesday.

Glencore International PLC's takeover of Viterra has been delayed until as late as December 10 as the companies await the final regulatory approval, from China's Ministry of Commerce.

Assuming the Glencore-Viterra deal closes as scheduled, Agrium will file for a review by Canada's Competition Bureau in late December and hopes to close the deal late in the first quarter, Wilson said.

Agrium would get 232 Canadian farm retail outlets - where it would sell seed, chemicals and fertilizer to farmers - as well as 17 stores in Australia.

"It's just going to be a great, great deal for us," Wilson said at a Dahlman Rose investor conference in New York that was broadcast on the Internet.

The company is under pressure from its biggest shareholder, Jana Partners, to spin off the retail division.

Agrium shares eased 0.5 percent in New York and 0.3 percent in Toronto in early trading.

($1=$1.00 Canadian)

(Reporting by Rod Nickel in Winnipeg, Manitoba; Editing by John Wallace and Dale Hudson)