OTTAWA, QUEBEC, CANADA — The Competition Bureau of Canada said in a report issued April 24 that the proposed acquisition of Viterra Ltd. by Bunge Global SA is likely to result in substantial anti-competitive effects and a significant loss of rivalry between Viterra and Bunge in agricultural markets in Canada.

Bunge and Viterra announced last June that they had agreed to a merger that will create one of the world’s largest agribusiness companies, moving it closer in size and scope to leading agribusiness giants Cargill and ADM. 

The Bureau determined that the transaction is likely to harm competition in markets for grain purchasing in Western Canada, as well as for the sale of canola oil in Eastern Canada. It also found that Bunge could materially influence the economic behavior of G3 Global Holdings, a major competitor to Viterra. As a minority shareholder of G3, Bunge has access to G3’s confidential competitively sensitive information, the Bureau noted.

Bunge and Viterra issued a joint statement in reaction to the Bureau’s report.

“As described in the advisory report, the companies operate complementary businesses in markets with numerous effective competitors,” they said. “The report concluded that the Commissioner had no specific competition concerns for grain purchasing in Eastern Canada and in most of Western Canada, for port terminal operations, for meal sales, and for sales of the vast majority of downstream refined and specialty oil products. It identifies localized concerns relating to the purchase of canola in the Nipawin, Saskatchewan, and Altona, Manitoba, areas, and related to canola oil sales to a small segment of customers in Eastern Canada.

“It also notes a potential concern regarding Bunge’s minority stake in G3 Canada. We believe the noted concerns are misplaced and look forward to working with Transport Canada and the Bureau to provide further information addressing these points. We are pleased the regulatory process is advancing and are confident the transaction will yield considerable benefits to Canada. These will include stronger supply chains in uncertain global markets, maintaining Canadian leadership in agriculture and food by increasing capacity to invest, and employing thousands of Canadians in well-paying jobs.”

The Bureau said its concerns are outlined in a report submitted to the Minister of Transport. The report will inform Transport Canada’s public interest review of the proposed transaction as it relates to national transportation. Transport Canada has until June 2 to complete its public interest assessment and provide it to the Minister.

The final decision regarding the proposed transaction will be made by the Governor in Council (Cabinet) based on advice from the Minister of Transport.

The companies said once regulatory approvals are obtained, they expect thetransaction to close this summer.