First its monopoly was removed, and now the name will be history too.
The Canadian Wheat Board (or CWB) formally became a private grain company known as “G3 Canada” today.
G3 Global Grain Group — the joint venture between Bunge and the Saudi Agriculture and Livestock Investment Company — completed the $250 million acquisition of a 50.1 percent stake in the former Canadian Wheat Board first announced back in April. Along with finalizing the deal, G3 merged CWB with the grain assets of Bunge Canada to form G3 Canada Limited.
“This is a fresh start for us. It’s a signal to all of us and the industry that we have a new competitor in the grain industry,” says G3 CEO Karl Gerrand in the interview below, following a meeting with CWB and Bunge grain staff across the country this morning.
G3 Canada CEO Karl Gerrand discusses the decision to drop the CWB name, plans for building port and grain handling facilities and the CWB farmer equity plan:
The Canadian Wheat Board’s reputation with international customers was not taken for granted in the decision to transition to the G3 name, he notes.
“The global industry is one that is used to change. We think the benefits of CWB include the rich Canadian heritage and that rich Canadian heritage has not gone away,” he says.
The completion of the deal also means employees from CWB and Bunge can begin hammering out details on the company’s plans for building new port facilities and inland elevators.
“We’ve been prevented from having those detailed strategic discussions until today, but next week that will be the first order of business,” notes Gerrand.
He says plans for a new laker terminal at Hamilton are close to a final decision. The permitting process and engineering work for a new port facility at Vancouver have also begun. Along with the port capacity, he says both sides have been working on plans to build new country elevators.
“We’ve got a big beast that we’re going to be building in Vancouver and we need to feed it so we have lots of work on the inland side,” says Gerrand.
The other 49.9 percent of CWB will still be owned by farmers through a farmer equity trust. Gerrand notes three trustees have been appointed to look after the trust, although they haven’t been announced publicly.