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Viterra considers return to canola crushing

(Resource News International) — Growing global demand for biodiesel and food-quality vegetable oils has resulted in Viterra considering re-entering the oilseed processing sector, company CEO Mayo Schmidt said Friday.

Viterra, is the new operating name for Saskatchewan Wheat Pool after its recent acquisition of Agricore United.

“The company is currently actively looking at biofuel opportunities in Canada and the U.S.,” Schmidt said during a question-and-answer period in a teleconference call with investors and media.

Viterra has ample experience in the crushing sector, having been involved in Canada’s largest canola processing company, CanAmera, several years ago, Schmidt noted.

“There will be ample opportunities for expansion in both the North American biodiesel and food sector in North America,” he said, noting that the expansion of the global vegetable oil market was still in the early stages and will be a long-term venture.

The fact the Canadian government is giving serious consideration to mandating further biofuel usage also was seen as a step in the right direction, Schmidt said.

“Quite frankly, depending on the opportunities, Viterra can either build its own facilities or acquire those kind of plants,” he said, noting that the company was considering those kind of choices. “Viterra will look at the circumstances and the return on the venture before making any final decision.”

During the teleconference. Schmidt also acknowledged that global demand for Canadian canola during the 2007-08 crop year will be at record-high levels.
The majority of the various 2007-08 grain and oilseed crops in Western Canada was seen to be of mostly good quality, Schmidt said.

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