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Bunge Eyes Canada After Wheat Monopoly

U.S. grain-trading giant Bunge Ltd. plans to expand its presence in Western Canada once the Canadian Wheat Board’s marketing monopoly is ended.

“The most efficient system is a free market, a complete free market,” Bunge chief executive Alberto Weisser told theGlobe and Mail newspaper.

The Conservative government says it will pass legislation this autumn to end the wheat board’s marketing monopoly on western wheat and barley in August 2012. Bunge owns a small number of assets in Canada, including plants to process canola, but lacks extensive grain-storage and -handling facilities.

It is already planning to bolster its presence, said Soren Schroder, head of Bunge’s North American division.

“We are absolutely planning to be part of it,” he said. “In reality our preferred way, probably, would be through some kind of partnership with existing operators.”

Canada’s grain-handling industry is dominated by Viterra Inc., Richardson International Ltd., and Cargill Inc.

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