Viterra declines comment on AWB

Viterra is well-positioned for further deals and continues to seek them, but is declining comment on whether it has any interest in bidding for AWB Ltd. “We certainly wouldn’t and couldn’t comment on our strategic initiatives,” Viterra CEO Mayo Schmidt said in a Reuters report Aug. 23.

Viterra is already a major player in Australia following its purchase of ABB last year.

AWB was put into play earlier this month when directors recommended a merger involving a share swap with larger Australian rival GrainCorp. However the directors have since withdrawn their recommendation in favour of an all-cash offer by Canadian fertilizer giant Agrium Ltd, which is interested in AWB’s large agri-products distribution network. Some analysts have speculated that if Agrium is successful, it may be interested in spinning off AWB’s grain marketing arm, of which Viterra could be a potential purchaser.

AWB, formerly the Australian Wheat Board, lost its wheat-export monopoly in 2008 following a scandal involving payments to the Saddam Hussein regime in Iraq.

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