Transport Canada has launched public consultations on Bunge’s proposed US$8.1 billion acquisition of Viterra.
Transport Minister Pablo Rodriguez decided in September that the combination of the two grain companies warranted a review under the Canada Transportation Act regarding the impact it could have on Canada’s transportation system.
Both Viterra and Bunge hold ownership interest in port facilities on the West Coast at Vancouver and at multiple locations along the eastbound St. Lawrence Seaway corridor.
Comments for the Transport Canada review can be submitted online (here). The deadline for submissions is December 22, 2023.
The department says it’s seeking answers to the following key questions:
- How do you think the acquisition of Viterra Limited by Bunge Limited would affect the Canadian economy and/or Canadian agricultural sector? Please explain.
- Would you expect the acquisition to have a positive or negative effect on the national transportation system? Please explain.
- In your opinion, should the acquisition be approved, approved with conditions, or disallowed? Why? Please explain.
The transport assessment will include input from the Competition Bureau, which is also reviewing how the deal would affect competition in the transportation and agriculture sectors.
The department says if its review raises concerns, the transport minister would consult with the Competition Bureau and the two companies to fix these issues. The minister would then make a recommendation to the federal cabinet, which can choose to allow the deal as proposed, allow it with conditions, or reject it.
Bunge received shareholder approval for the acquisition last month, and is planning to have the transaction close by mid-2024.
Transport Canada has set a deadline of June 2, 2024 to complete its review.
In addition to government, several farm and commodity organizations are seeking feedback from farmer members on the Bunge-Viterra marriage. In Saskatchewan, the Agricultural Producers Association of Saskatchewan, SaskCanola, Sask Wheat, and SaskBarley have also asked the provincial government to scrutinize the deal.