* Richardson, Glencore to be top two W.Canada grain handlers
* Regulator still reviewing Glencore-Agrium deal
By Rod Nickel
WINNIPEG, Manitoba, Dec 20 (Reuters) - Canadian grain handler Richardson International Ltd said on Thursday it has received approval from Canada’s Competition Bureau for its C$800-million ($808 million) purchase of some country elevators, port grain-terminal space and processing plants from Glencore International PLC.
Privately held Richardson said it plans to close the transaction, which involves some of the assets Glencore acquired in its C$6.1-billion takeover of Viterra Inc this month, as soon as possible in 2013.
The takeover of Viterra and the break-up of its parts will leave Glencore and Winnipeg-based Richardson as roughly equal-sized grain handlers in Western Canada, each with about one-third of the region’s grain-handling capacity.
From Glencore Richardson will get 19 elevators and attached farm retail centers, a 25 percent interest in the Cascadia terminal at Port Metro Vancouver, a port storage terminal at Thunder Bay, Ontario, as well as several oat processing plants and a wheat mill.
Swiss-based Glencore also plans to sell the bulk of Viterra’s former farm retail outlets to Agrium Inc for C$575 million, and Viterra’s 34 percent stake in the Canadian Fertilizer Ltd plant in Medicine Hat, Alberta, to CF Industries Holdings Inc for C$915 million.
Agrium spokesman Richard Downey said the Competition Bureau’s review of the Agrium-Glencore transaction will take longer, given the number of farm retail outlets Agrium would acquire.
Some farmers have said Agrium would gain too much clout in becoming Canada’s biggest retail seller of seed, chemicals and fertilizer, since it also produces nitrogen on a wholesale basis.