September 6, 2012 / 2:32 PM / in 6 years

Viterra sees above-average Western Canada crops

(Reuters) - Western Canadian crops are producing above-average yields and quality in the early stages of harvest, which looks to be bigger than usual, Canada’s biggest grain handler Viterra Inc said on Thursday.

Viterra, which is in the process of being taken over by Glencore International Plc, said the quality of the six major grains - wheat, barley, canola, oats, flax and peas - looked promising but would depend on favorable Canadian harvest weather over the next couple of months.

In South Australia, where Viterra is also the dominant grain handler, crops have had good growing conditions throughout the state. Quality of the crops, which are mostly wheat and barley, appeared good, the company said.

Viterra reported a 10 percent fall in quarterly profit after taking charges related to taxes and early redemption of bonds.

Grain handling and marketing revenue rose to C$2.21 billion ($2.23 billion) in the third quarter from C$2.19 billion a year earlier, mainly due to higher commodity prices, Viterra said in a statement.

Agri-products revenue rose 16 percent to C$1.31 billion, owing to strong fertilizer pricing and higher sales of crop protection products.

Net profit fell to C$111 million, or 30 Canadian cents per share, from C$123 million, or 34 Canadian cents per share, a year earlier. Overall revenue rose 7 percent to C$3.64 billion.

Glencore has bid C$6.1 billion for Viterra. Under the deal, which is awaiting regulatory approval from China, Glencore plans to sell some parts of Viterra to Canadian fertilizer company Agrium Inc and private Canadian grain handler Richardson International Ltd.

Viterra’s shares were unchanged at C$16.14 on the Toronto Stock Exchange in early trading on Thursday.

Reporting by Maneesha Tiwari in Bangalore and Rod Nickel in Winnipeg, Manitoba; Editing by Ted Kerr and Bernadette Baum

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