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Glencore gets federal nod for Viterra acquisition bid

The logo of Glencore is seen in front of the company's headquarters in the Swiss town of Zug May 9, 2012.

ARND WIEGMANN/REUTERS

The federal government has signed off on Glencore International PLC's bid to acquire Regina-based grain handler Viterra Inc.

Industry Minister Christian Paradis has issued a statement saying he approved the Swiss commodities supplier's $6.1 billion bid under the Investment Canada Act.

Mr. Paradis says he only approves applications that are likely to be of net benefit to Canada and the green light brings the deal closer to final approval.

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Glencore says it is committed to investing in Viterra's operations and to growing western Canada's agricultural industry.

The company has agreed to increase Viterra's projected capital expenditures in Canada by more than $100 million over five years and has said it will contribute to "grain industry initiatives" in Manitoba.

It has also committed to maintaining Viterra's Regina headquarters and said it will make the location the head office for its North American agricultural operations.

Glencore had said it expects to get all of the regulatory approvals it needs to close the transaction by the end of July. But it now suggests it may not meet that deadline as it waits for a review approval from the Chinese Ministry of Commerce.

Last month the Competition Bureau said it wasn't challenging the deal, though it is weighing subsequent sales of Viterra assets to Calgary-based Agrium Inc. and Winnipeg-based Richardson International.

A U.S. statutory waiting period for antitrust review has expired, and Australia's competition watchdog has approved the transaction.

The deal also has the blessings of shareholders and the Ontario Superior Court of Justice.

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