Glencore to buy Canada grain giant

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Glencore, already the world’s number one commodities trader, has agreed to buy Canada’s largest grain handler in a $6.2bn deal that will shake up an industry that should flourish as global demand for food surges.

Glencore will acquire Viterra and then sell off some parts of the company to Canada’s Richardson International and Agrium, a step that should allay concerns that Ottawa could block the deal on national sovereignty or competition grounds. Viterra also has significant assets in South Australia.

The acquisition gives Glencore – long a powerhouse in oil and metals – a huge new presence in grains, an area now dominated by Archer Daniels Midland, Cargill and Bunge. The Swiss-based trader wants to round out its portfolio in anticipation of a coming squeeze on global supplies of grains as the populations of China, India and other emerging economies soars and diets improve.