Co-ops seal deal for Viterra stores, will shut two

(Dave Bedard photo)

Updated, Nov. 8 — Fifteen Viterra crop retail outlets on the Prairies will soon fly the banners of their communities’ local co-ops, while operations at two others will be wound down.

Federated Co-operatives Ltd. (FCL) announced Thursday it has closed its deal to buy the fertilizer, seed and agriculture chemical supply centres from Viterra, the grain handling arm of Glencore Xstrata, effective Wednesday.

FCL said it picked up federal regulatory approval for the sale at the end of October.

Under what it describes as a “two-step” deal, FCL will now transfer the sites’ ownership and operation to local retail co-ops.

Of the 17, seven each are in Saskatchewan (Canwood, Cupar, Lloydminster, North Battleford, Prince Albert, Strasbourg and White Star) and Alberta (Barons, Claresholm, Crossfield, High River, Manning, Stettler and Viking) and one is in northwestern Manitoba, at Roblin.

FCL and the local co-ops “have spent significant time assessing the viability of each site,” FCL said Thursday.

Coming out of that review, all but two of the 17 will be transferred to the local co-ops. Those remaining two are at Leoville, Sask., about 150 km northwest of Prince Albert, and at Grimshaw, Alta., about 25 km west of Peace River.

FCL said Thursday it will manage the Grimshaw and Leoville locations for now but will “phase out operations during the next few months.”

Viterra earlier this week announced plans to demolish its old 4,760-tonne capacity elevator at Grimshaw and replace it with a new 30,000-tonne capacity high-throughput elevator. A Viterra spokesman said Friday the company no plans to build an ag retail site with its new Grimshaw facility.

“All but just a few” of about 60 employees at the 17 affected retail sites have agreed to join local Co-op ag teams, FCL said.

Local co-op employees now plan to contact former Viterra customers to discuss their farm supply needs and wil be “encouraging them to become Co-op members,” FCL added. — Network

Related stories:
Prairie co-ops to take over 17 Viterra ag retail outlets, Aug. 30, 2013
Viterra plans new concrete in Alta. Peace, Nov. 5, 2013

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