Viterra takeover now put off to mid-December

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Commodity giant Glencore International and Canada’s top grain handler have again adjusted their expectations for a formal marriage date.

Regina-based Viterra and Switzerland’s Glencore warned Friday they no longer expect to be able to close on Glencore’s takeover of Viterra by their most recent target date of Nov. 15. The companies are waiting on one last government approval, from China’s ministry of commerce (MOFCOM).

The two firms now expect to seal their deal by Dec. 10 at the latest, or on the third business day after MOFCOM grants its approval, whichever comes first.

No further extensions are expected past that date, as the “waiting period” for MOFCOM approval under China’s Anti-Monopoly Law expires on Dec. 9, Viterra said Friday.

Authorities and courts in Canada, the U.S., Australia and other nations where Viterra operates have long since granted their blessings, or at least their official indifference, to the deal.

The two companies last revised their formal takeover date to Nov. 15 at the outside, when it became clear MOFCOM’s approval would not come before the end of September.

Glencore and Viterra said Friday they “continue to engage with MOFCOM to ensure approval as soon as possible (and) the ongoing review process continues to advance.”

Regardless, China’s approval “is no longer expected to be obtained in time” for a Nov. 15 close.

Viterra’s assets in China include an eight-figure joint-venture investment in a canola crushing facility in Fangchenggang, commissioned last year. Viterra also runs a trading office in Shanghai and a representative’s office in Beijing.

Waiting in the wings — and still requiring Canadian government approval before they can close — are $2.6 billion in deals in which Glencore would sell a number of Viterra’s ag retail, grain handling and processing assets to Canadian agribusinesses Agrium and Richardson International.

Successful conclusions to those sales aren’t conditions for Glencore’s takeover of Viterra.

Related stories:
Viterra expects marriage to Glencore by mid-November, Sept. 27, 2012
Glencore confirmed as Viterra’s six billion dollar suitor, March 20, 2012