| NEW YORK
NEW YORK May 14 Canada's Competition Bureau has
not raised any concerns about Agrium Inc's proposed
purchase of 232 farm supply stores from Glencore Xstrata PLC
, even though its review has taken months longer than
expected, a senior Agrium official said.
Agrium agreed more than a year ago to pay C$175 million
($172 million) plus C$400 million in working capital, net of
operating cash flow from the supply stores from March 31, 2012
until the deal closes. The sale, triggered by Glencore's
takeover of grain handler Viterra Inc last year, has raised
competition concerns among some farmers, because Agrium already
owns some stores and is also a major producer of nitrogen and
Along with the Canadian outlets, which sell seed, chemicals
and fertilizer to farmers, Agrium will get 17 stores in
"(The Competition Bureau) need to be thoughtful about what
they're doing and they're going to go through their fulsome
process and take their time," said Chuck Magro, Agrium's chief
operating officer, on the sidelines of the BMO Farm to Market
conference in New York. "They haven't said, 'we have a specific
concern, or here's an issue.'
"Their questions are more just on filling the gap in their
information on fundamentals - market information more than
Magro said Agrium already excluded from its purchase those
Viterra stores that it thought might pose competition concerns.
He said it is possible the Competition Bureau might ask Agrium
to sell off stores in sensitive areas, and numerous parties have
already expressed interest in buying any that become available.
Agrium sees regulatory approval for its purchase late in the
second quarter or early in the third quarter. It had expected
approval late last year.