SYDNEY Nov 27 Archer Daniels Midland Co (ADM)
will invest A$200 million in agricultural infrastructure
should it win approval for its A$2.8 billion ($2.56 billion)
takeover of Australia's GrainCorp, the U.S.
agribusiness said, in a move seen as a sweetener for farmers
ahead of a regulatory deadline.
Some farm groups and politicians from within the ruling
Liberal-National coalition have opposed the takeover, arguing
that Australian assets should not be sold to foreign firms and
that a sale could risk the country's food security.
ADM on Wednesday said it would invest A$200 million in grain
handling and infrastructure, and also committed to joining an
"industry-agreed" protocol for reporting wheat stocks across its
bulk grain storage sites, two central policy goals of Australian
"We have had substantive discussions with growers,
policymakers and other stakeholders, and we've been committed to
finding common ground and developing solutions that address
issues and opportunities that have been raised," Ian Pinner,
president of ADM unit ADM Grain, said in an announcement to the
Australian Securities Exchange.
Analysts said the move was an attempt to win support from
local farmers, although they were unsure whether $200 million
would be enough.
Farmers welcomed the commitment but said they would need
greater details before deciding on whether to support ADM's bid
for GrainCorp, the largest handler of grains on Australia's east
"It shows that they want to put money on the table, but we
need to work out where they intend to spend that money and how
they intend to run the business," said Dan Cooper, a farmer in
New South Wales and a committee member of the New South Wales
Shares in GrainCorp rose more than 4 percent following the
ADM pledge, buoying optimism the takeover would get the green
The move comes ahead of a December 17 deadline by which
Australian Treasurer Joe Hockey said he would make a final
decision on whether to approve or reject the GrainCorp takeover.
Amid farmer opposition to the ADM deal, a political divide
has emerged between the ruling Liberal Party, which is seen as
pro-investment, and its junior partner, the rural-based National
Party, who oppose the deal.