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Glencore makes $5.5-bn bid for Canada's Viterra


Commodities and has made a £3.5-billion ($5.5-billion) approach for Canada’s biggest grain handler Viterra, Britain’s Sunday Telegraph newspaper said on its website yesterday.

The London-based paper did not cite sources, but said it understood that had made an approach to Viterra, which triggered a statement by on Friday that it had received expressions of interest from third parties.

Shares of spiked 24 per cent in Toronto on Friday after a brief trading halt, during which the company disclosed interest from parties it did not name. Viterra’s market cap soared to more than C$5 billion ($5.05 billion) with the stock surge.

is one of three big grain handlers in Canada — along with privately held Richardson International Limited and Cargill — and the only one that is publicly traded. Interest in the company comes as the Canadian government moves to eliminate the Canadian Wheat Board’s 69-year-old wheat and barley marketing monopoly in Western Canada on August 1, 2012.

That change will eventually add C$40 million to C$50 million to Viterra’s annual earnings, the company has said, as it can buy wheat and barley directly from farmers for the first time.

Canada is the leading exporter of spring wheat, durum, canola and oats.

also owns grain handling assets in South Australia. representatives did not immediately respond to requests for comment from Reuters.

A spokesman declined to comment, according to the Telegraph.

is also attempting a $36-billion merger with mining group Xstrata, and has expressed interest in buying US energy and grains trader Gavilon Group, according to a source familiar with the matter.

First Published: Mon, March 12 2012. 00:00 IST