Sask. farms out review of Viterra takeover

The Canadian arm of ag market research firm Informa Economics will handle the Saskatchewan government’s review of the proposed takeover of Viterra.

The province on Thursday announced it has hired Informa’s Winnipeg office to conduct a "thorough analysis" of the proposed $6.1 billion acquisition of the Regina-based grain handler. The suitor is multinational commodity firm Glencore, in a shared bid with Canadian ag firms Richardson International and Agrium.

The report, which is due by May 7 and would be released to the public "a few days later," is intended to examine "all aspects of the proposed deal, including employment, impact on competition and effect on the province’s economy and revenues."

"Just like we did with the proposed (and later abandoned takeover of PotashCorp by mining giant BHP Billiton in 2010), our government will conduct a very thorough analysis to determine what is in the best interest of the people of Saskatchewan," Premier Brad Wall said in a release.

"This independent analysis will inform our position on this acquisition."

The report is meant to identify "general risks to and opportunities and benefits arising out of the proposed acquisition," such as for grain industry employment in Saskatchewan; competition within the Prairie grain handling system; competition in the farm input sector; Saskatchewan farmers; provincial government revenues; the province’s "strategic position" in the global grain industry; and the province’s "reputation for a positive investment climate."

Informa’s report is also expected to lay out options available to the provincial government to mitigate any risks the review identifies — as well as any options to act on "opportunities and benefits that result from the proposed acquisition, or other bids should they arise."

That "inventory of public mechanisms" would include, but not be limited to, recommended conditions that the federal government could require in its own regulatory review process for the Glencore bid.

Informa’s fee to run and complete the review will be $125,000, the province said Thursday.

Related stories:
Beyond the ABCDs: The next generation of global grain traders, March 29, 2012
Glencore confirmed as Viterra’s six billion dollar suitor, March 20, 2012

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