Monday, March 12, 2012

Canada's largest grain handler Viterra ripe for foreign takeover

International capital is circling around Viterra Canada's largest grain handler just waiting to gobble it up now that it has become more valuable after the Canadian Conservative government has broken the monopsony of the Canadian Wheat Board. Viterra itself is now itself part of the global conglomerates involved in grain handling. Viterra has operations in the U.S. New Zealand and Australia and even China and has expanded into areas such as food processing.

A UK paper reports that a Swiss firm Glencore PLC has made a bid of 5.5 billion dollars for Viterra. The Wall Street journal also reports that the huge U.S. based agribusiness Cargill Inc. is also interested in buying Viterra.

On Friday Viterra share surged almost 25 per cent. Viterra will also benefit by the eliminationof the Wheat Board control over marketing western wheat and barley.

The formation of Viterra itself is the culmination of the complete destruction of farmer controlled Pools that were begun during the depression and even before to protect farmers from the power of giant grain buyers such as Cargill. However, first the Alberta Wheat Pool and the Manitoba Wheat Pools were merged and privatized as Agricore and finally the Saskatchewan Wheat Pool also ended up privatized as Viterra which is a merger of Sask. Wheat Pool and Agricore. For more about the Pools see this article. and this. Now all these farmer-controlled institutions are replaced by Viterra the sort of giant that farmers in the early part of the century were protecting themselves from! It is only fitting that the company be taken over by another competing giant to help form an oligopoly that has the power to dictate prices to farmers. For much more see this CBC article.

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