MELBOURNE, Australia - Cargill has been informed by the Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB) that the federal government in Australia has no objections to the proposed acquisition from Agrium of the AWB Commodity Management business. This follows the ACCC's decision on March 17, 2011, not to oppose the acquisition.
Cargill Australia Managing Director Ralph Selwood said: "We welcome both the Federal Government's and the ACCC's clearance of our acquisition of the AWB Commodity Management business.
"We will now proceed rapidly to conclude the transaction and begin the integration process to bring the two businesses together."
"Specifically, we intend to embark on the following actions after acquisition:
• Continue to operate wheat and barley pools over the coming years and this will continue while there is a commercial demand for pool products.
• Actively use the AWB brand, primarily in the Australian grain buying and grower activities and where the brand can help secure premium pricing to benefit Australian growers in international markets.
• Continue to use and promote Australian wheat classification as a means of distinguishing the high quality of Australian wheat.
• Provide open access to other grain buyers at all our storage sites within normal commercial requirements.
• Promote pricing transparency via our web site and offering prices for delivery at all the Grainflow sites."
Mr Selwood also confirmed that the acquisition will not yet include AWB's interest in Melbourne Port Terminal, as this aspect of the acquisition remains subject to third-party consents and waivers. However this interest does not include rights of operational control and Cargill would not interfere with the current owner's open access undertaking to the ACCC.
"AWB's grain business is a great fit with our existing grain and commodity trading operations. Combining two strong organisations means we can offer growers access to more international grain markets, and our Australian and international customers access to high quality grain through an efficient distribution system," Mr Selwood said.
"We look forward to adding AWB's talented people to our own team as we bring the two businesses together over the next few months."
Robert Green, General Manager, Cargill Australia said: "Australian grain growers will soon see benefits from the combined Cargill and AWB business.
"Going forward, we will be able to move grain through an efficient distribution chain that allows us to better manage global market fluctuations, meaning we can provide competitive pricing and cost benefits for growers," Mr Green concluded.