Canada’s Agrium Inc has received regulatory approval to buy 18 Cargill AgHorizons retail locations across the northern US corn belt and 16 Andrukow Group Solutions locations across Western Canada, the company announced on 6 September.

Agrium is North America’s largest retail seller of crop inputs such as seeds, fertilisers and pesticides.

The purchase of the 18 Cargill AgHorizons outlets in the US states of Nebraska, South Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Indiana – with annual revenues of over US$150M – was announced in July (see OFI News, July/August 2016).

The agreement to buy the 16 Andrukow retail sites was announced on 6 September.

“The locations will increase our retail presence close to our manufacturing facilities in Western Canada, where we can optimise freight and handling; and in the US corn belt, where we are under-represented in a key growing region,” said Agrium’s president and CEO, Chuck Magro.

However, Oilseed & Grain News said Canada’s Competition Bureau had instructed Agrium to sell its own sites at Marwayne and St Paul, Alberta; and Andrukow locations at Wainwright and Sedgewick, Alberta, as it saw the deal as lessening competition in the sale of nitrogen fertilisers in certain markets in Alberta and Saskatchewan.

Agrium also announced on 12 September that it had agreed to merge with Potash Corporation of Saskatchwan to create an agribusiness giant valued at more than C$30bn (US$23bn).

The deal combined Potash’s access to 20% of the world’s total supply of potash with Agrium’s agricultural product distribution network that saw sales of US$15bn last year, while giving Agrium the ability to expand its offerings of potash and other fertiliser products, Oilseed & Grain News said.