Viterra expects marriage to Glencore by mid-November

Still waiting on one last regulatory approval, Canada’s biggest grain handler and its proposed buyer now expect to seal their deal by mid-November at the latest.

Regina-based Viterra and its suitor, Swiss commodity giant Glencore International, said Wednesday that they have now extended the "outside date for completion of the acquisition" to Nov. 15.

Apart from the usual closing conditions, the companies are waiting on just one last regulatory approval, from China’s ministry of commerce (MOFCOM), as per that country’s Anti-Monopoly Law.

Viterra’s assets in China include a joint-venture investment of up to US$25 million in a canola crushing facility in Fangchenggang, commissioned last year. Viterra also runs a trading office in Shanghai and a representative’s office in Beijing.

Once MOFCOM’s approval has been received, Viterra and Glencore said, the two companies will announce a specific closing date on which the formal acquisition will take place.

The two companies, which announced plans for Glencore’s friendly $6.1 billion takeover bid in March this year, said they "continue to engage with MOFCOM to ensure approval as soon as possible."

Canadian agribusinesses Agrium and Richardson International are still set to buy a number of Viterra’s ag retail, grain handling and processing assets from Glencore, in deals worth $1.8 billion and $800 million respectively.

Those deals also require approvals, not yet granted, from Canadian authorities. Calgary-based Agrium, for one, recently said it expects to complete its deal for the bulk of Viterra’s Canadian and Australian farm supply stores by the end of 2012 or in early 2013.

Successful conclusions to those sales aren’t required for Glencore’s takeover of Viterra.

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