INTERVIEW-Canada grain handler Richardson targets U.S. acquisitions

Thu May 14, 2015 4:33pm EDT
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(Adds share activity, no comment from Andersons)

By Rod Nickel

WINNIPEG, Manitoba May 14 (Reuters) - Richardson International, one of Canada's largest grain handlers, is seeking expansion in the United States through acquisitions worth C$100 million to as much as C$2 billion ($1.67 billion), its chief executive said on Thursday.

Richardson, which now owns two U.S. mills, is interested in Andersons Inc and private companies Bartlett and Scoular, as well as co-operatives, Chief Executive Curt Vossen said in an interview at the company's Winnipeg head office.

Andersons' shares on Nasdaq spiked as much as 13 percent shortly after Vossen's comments were published, touching a three-month high, before finishing up 7.5 percent at $45.09.

Vossen said Richardson has had no discussions with those companies and that it was unclear if they are willing to sell.

Richardson is also looking to expand to Latin America, Australia and Eastern Europe, where more crop is produced than can be consumed domestically.

But the United States "is the logical growth direction," Vossen said. "We don't have to be the largest, but we have to be meaningful.

"There's no point in acquiring small businesses if they don't move the EBITDA needle for the organization in an effective way."   Continued...