UPDATE 3-China nod clears way for Glencore's Viterra purchase
* Chinese approval was last regulatory hurdle
* Viterra expects deal to be finalized Dec. 17
* Canada Competition Bureau to review Glencore side deals
By Bhaswati Mukhopadhyay and Rod Nickel
Dec 7 (Reuters) - Glencore International Plc won approval from China's Ministry of Commerce on Friday for its C$6 billion ($6 billion) purchase of Canadian grain handler Viterra Inc, clearing the last regulatory hurdle for the long-delayed deal.
The takeover, one of the largest in the global agriculture industry in years, was originally expected to close by late July.
The deal will give Swiss-based Glencore, the world's largest diversified commodities trader, a huge presence in grains - an area dominated by Archer Daniels Midland Co, Cargill Inc and Bunge Ltd - complementing its strength in metals, minerals and oil.
After selling off some Viterra assets in side deals that still require Canadian regulator approval, Glencore and privately held Richardson International Ltd would be the leading grain handlers in Canada, the world's biggest producer of canola and sixth-largest wheat grower.
Richardson, which has agreed to buy some of Viterra's assets, and Glencore would each own about one-third of Western Canada's grain-handling capacity. The companies would be roughly the same size. Continued...