GATINEAU, QUEBEC, CANADA — Canada’s federal Competition Bureau is challenging Parrish & Heimbecker Ltd.’s (P&H) September acquisition of a Virden, Manitoba, Canada, grain elevator from Louis Dreyfus Co. (LDC). The elevator was acquired as part of a transaction between the two companies that included 10 LDC grain elevators in Western Canada.

Specifically, the Competition Bureau on Dec. 19 filed an application with the Competition Tribunal for an order requiring P&H to sell either its own elevator in Moosomin, Saskatchewan, Canada, or the newly acquired elevator in Virden.

According to the Competition Bureau, the acquisition of the Virden elevator gives P&H control of two elevators along a 180 km stretch of the TransCanada Highway.

“Farmers in and around this area are left with limited options,” the Competition Bureau said. “The next closest elevator is owned by Viterra Inc. in Fairlight, Saskatchewan. However, the Fairlight elevator is located 35 km south of the TransCanada Highway on a secondary road and, due to highway weight restrictions, farmers may pay more to transport their wheat and canola.

“P&H will be able to materially raise the implicit price farmers pay for grain handling services for wheat and canola in the Virden-Moosomin corridor. Farmers will be paid less for their wheat and canola.”

John Heimbecker, chief executive officer of P&H, called the acquisition of the 10 elevators “an incredibly exciting day” when the transaction was first announced in September.

“This is a win-win for farmers seeking a more competitive grain and crop inputs offering as well as for the stakeholders within P&H and LDC who work to support them,” he said at the time.

P&H continues to invest in its terminals to create a national grain asset network, including new grain elevator construction and export terminal expansions and upgrades. With 40 locations coast to coast, P&H facilities are located to match producer grain with the needs of both domestic and export end users in terms of quantity, quality, and logistical requirements. With over 1,500 employees and with customers in 15 countries, P&H continues its evolution as a diversified and vertically-integrated agribusiness.