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Competition Bureau clears Richardson acquisition of some Glencore assets

File photo of a Viterra grain terminal just east of Regina.


Canadian grain handler Richardson International Ltd. said on Thursday it has received approval from Canada's Competition Bureau for its $800-million purchase of some country elevators, port grain-terminal space and processing plants from Glencore International PLC.

Privately held Richardson said it plans to close the transaction, which involves some of the assets Glencore acquired in its $6.1-billion takeover of Viterra Inc. this month, as soon as possible in 2013.

The takeover of Viterra and the breakup of its parts will leave Glencore and Winnipeg-based Richardson as roughly equal-sized grain handlers in Western Canada, each with about one-third of the region's grain-handling capacity.

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From Glencore Richardson will get 19 elevators and attached farm retail centres , a 25 per cent interest in the Cascadia terminal at Port Metro Vancouver, a port storage terminal at Thunder Bay, Ont., as well as several oat processing plants and a wheat mill.

Swiss-based Glencore also plans to sell the bulk of Viterra's former farm retail outlets to Agrium Inc. for $575-million, and Viterra's 34 per cent stake in the Canadian Fertilizer Ltd. plant in Medicine Hat, Alta., to CF Industries Holdings Inc. for $915-million.

Agrium spokesman Richard Downey said the Competition Bureau's review of the Agrium-Glencore transaction will take longer, given the number of farm retail outlets Agrium would acquire.

Some farmers have said Agrium would gain too much clout in becoming Canada's biggest retail seller of seed, chemicals and fertilizer, since it also produces nitrogen on a wholesale basis.

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