By Alistair MacDonald
Of THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
Glencore International PLC (GLNCY, GLEN.LN) said Friday that it has been cleared by Canadian competition authorities to proceed with its proposed near C$6 billion takeover of Viterra Inc. (VTRAF, VT.T), the Canadian grain handler.
The Swiss commodities-trading powerhouse entered into exclusive talks with Viterra in March. Viterra operates grain-marketing and distribution businesses across Canada, the U.S., Australia, New Zealand and China. Given it controls 45% of the grain trade in Canada, the world's sixth-largest grain exporter, some analysts wondered whether Canadian competition authorities and politicians would allow the takeover to go through.
On Friday, Glencore said in a statement that it has received a 'No Action Letter' from the Canadian Commissioner of Competition, indicating that the agency does not intend to oppose the acquisition.
Glencore has lined up Canadian partners Richardson International and Agrium Inc. (AGU, AGU.T) to join in the takeover, each of which are expected to buy some of Viterra's assets from Glencore.