Cigi, Cereals Canada vote to close merger deal

Merged body to take latter group's name; next step, naming a CEO

The proposed merger between Cigi and Cereals Canada has taken one of its final steps forward, with votes of approval from both organizations’ memberships.

The two Winnipeg-based not-for-profit organizations announced Tuesday their memberships have approved “the amalgamation of both organizations under a unified governance and management structure.”

Terms of the merger call for the consolidated body to operate under the name Cereals Canada, though Cigi would maintain its brand as “a division within the overarching organization.”

The merged body’s governance structure, as approved, “also ensures that all members can shape and influence future priorities and initiatives,” the two groups said Tuesday.

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The two organizations started in 2018 to explore the possibility of a merger, and agreed last June to pursue it with a target of March 31 this year for its effective date.

Cigi, a.k.a. the Canadian International Grains Institute, has operated since 1972 and provides “pre-market and in-market technical support” on matters of Canadian grain milling, quality and end-uses for domestic and international buyers.

Cereals Canada is a national organization set up in 2013 to help bring “sustainable profitability” to Canada’s cereals value chain, and to provide industry co-ordination following the deregulation and privatization of the Canadian Wheat Board, helping to focus Canadian cereals research and market outreach.

Both organizations already promote Canadian wheat sales and share many of the same members, including the three Prairie wheat commissions and some of the same grain companies.

Their leadership said last summer that a merger would save money — in part by co-locating the two organizations in one space — as well as improve communications and help focus their work maintaining and developing markets for Canadian grain.

“Cereals Canada and Cigi have already established a close working relationship supporting the promotion of Canadian wheat and this merger will strengthen the benefits of this relationship” Jean-Marc Ruest, senior vice-president of corporate affairs at Richardson International and chair of the Cereals Canada board, said in a release.

“The merger represents an opportunity to align our efforts on behalf of the Canadian cereals value chain and ultimately strengthen the focus and impact of our activities,” Cigi chair Trent Rude, Viterra’s director of merchandising for North America, said in the same release. “While unlocking new synergies, we will also be maintaining the key components and expertise that each organization brings to the table.”

The next “major” step for the merged group will be to appoint a CEO, he said, while “our senior leadership team and staff will also continue to play a key role in guiding strategic planning with a view towards leveraging the opportunities of a fully integrated organization.”

The Alberta Wheat Commission, in a separate release Tuesday, hailed the merger as setting up “a platform for a unified value chain approach to enhancing the competitiveness of Canadian cereal crops.” — Glacier FarmMedia Network

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