CANBERRA Oct 4 Australian Treasurer Joe Hockey
on Friday extended the time period for a foreign investment
decision on Archer Daniels Midland Co's acquisition of
Australian grain handler GrainCorp Ltd, which is now
due by Dec. 17.
The A$3.0 billion ($2.8 billion) deal will be the first major
decision of the Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB) and for
Hockey since the election of Australia's new conservative
government on Sept. 7.
"Given the size of this transaction and the complex nature
of the issues involved, I have decided to extend the statutory
time period. This will allow sufficient time for the new
government to carefully consider all the relevant issues and
advice from the Foreign Investment Review Board before making a
decision," Hockey said.
The new time frame is consistent with ADM's expectations of
completing the transaction by the end of the year, and would
give the FIRB time to negotiate any conditions it might require
on the deal.
The FIRB looks into whether any investments by foreign
entities are against Australia's national interest, but Hockey
will have the final decision.
Hockey and new Prime Minister Tony Abbott have declared
Australia to be open for business since they won power, despite
concerns from the coalition government's junior partner, the
rural-based National Party, over the ADM-Graincorp deal.
National Party leader Warren Truss, who is now deputy prime
minister, has called on Hockey to reject the acquisition and
grain growers in three Australian states have expressed concerns
over the sale.
ADM's planned purchase of GrainCorp, announced in April, is
the latest move in the rapid consolidation of the global grains
sector amid intense competition to feed fast-developing
countries like China.