Grain giant close to takeover

REGINA — Canada’s largest grain handling company, Viterra Inc. (TSX:VT), will gain a “strong stream of cash flow” and greater reach with its proposed takeover of Australia’s ABB Grain (ASX:ABB), Viterra CEO Mayo Schmidt said Wednesday.

By THE CANADIAN PRESS

REGINA — Canada’s largest grain handling company, Viterra Inc. (TSX:VT), will gain a “strong stream of cash flow” and greater reach with its proposed takeover of Australia’s ABB Grain (ASX:ABB), Viterra CEO Mayo Schmidt said Wednesday.

A majority of ABB Grain’s shareholders voted in favour of the deal on Wednesday, and Australia’s Federal Court has scheduled a hearing on Thursday to hear the matter.

“We do believe that together our companies have the opportunity to build a long-term prosperity in agriculture industries both in Canada and Australia,” Schmidt said in conference call Wednesday.

“There are far-reaching benefits of this transaction that will touch all the shareholders, a couple of which certainly will be a much stronger balance sheet and a greater global reach with the size and scope to support both Canadian and Australian demand globally.”

Schmidt said “all the i’s are dotted and the t’s are crossed” for the court approval. Once that takes place, integration of ABB with Viterra will begin in earnest and day one of the new company begins Sept. 23, he said.

The deal, first announced in May, would make the new company one of the largest exporters of wheat, canola and barley in the world. It’s a major geographical extension for Viterra, the Regina-based former Saskatchewan Wheat Pool, which took over Agricore United in 2007 for $1.8 billion.