Saskatchewan raises concerns on Glencore-Viterra deal

Western Canadian province of Saskatchewan yesterday asked Canada's federal government to impose conditions on commodities giant Glencore International Plc's proposed acquisition of the country's largest grain handling company Viterra Inc.

According to the report prepared for the government of Saskatchewan, the acquisition may reduce competition in retail fertilizer sales.

''There is some concern about competition in the farm input sector –- particularly regarding nitrogen fertilizers, due to the acquisition of most of Viterra's retail input facilities by Agrium,'' according to a summary of the report by Informa Economics Inc, a Memphis, Tennessee-based independent research company, that was released yesterday.

Glencore's C$6.1-billion ($6.2 billion)  acquisition of Viterra includes a side deal to sell 90 per cent of Viterra's domestic retail outlets to fertiliser company Agrium and grain handling firm Richardson International for $2.6 billion (See: Glencore to acquire Canadian grain handler Viterra for $6.2 bn).

Calgary-based Agrium is already North America's largest farm retailer.

The Saskatchewan government has a say in the acquisition since Viterra's headquarters is based in Saskatchewan.