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The Canadian government would be reviewing global agribusiness giant Bunge’s planned acquisition of Glencore-backed Viterra, the country’s transport minister was quoted as saying by Reuters.

If the merger went ahead, it would create one of the world’s largest agribusinesses, the 27 September report said.

As part of the review, the country’s transport ministry would launch a public interest assessment of the proposed acquisition to be completed by 2 June 2024, the Minister of Transport Pablo Rodriguez was quoted as saying.

“Both companies hold ownership interests in port terminals throughout our country,” Rodriguez was quoted as saying on 27 September.

“Healthy competition in the transportation sector is necessary to ensure fair pricing and access for users, especially for Canadian farmers. Given this transaction is of significant national interest in Canada’s transportation sector and the broader supply chain, it will be reviewed under the mergers and acquisitions provisions of the Canada Transportation Act.”

A spokesperson for Bunge told Reuters the company looked forward to working with Transport Canada to show any impact the merger would have on transportation would be beneficial to Canada.

“Our expectation that the transaction will close in mid-2024 remains unchanged,” the spokesperson was quoted as saying in the Reuters report.

Announced by Bunge and Viterra in June, the US$18bn deal would bring the combined company closer in scale to leading global agribusinesses ADM and Cargill, World Grain wrote on 27 September.

Following the announcement, Canada’s Competition Bureau said it would review the merger.

Viterra, which has been owned by Switzerland-based commodity trading giant Glencore PLC since 2012, operates a network of agricultural storage, processing and transport assets in 37 countries.

Missouri-based Bunge is a leading soyabean processor and a leading supplier of speciality plant-based oils and fats, operating approximately 300 facilities in more than 40 countries.

In the USA, Viterra’s business of buying and selling grain expanded following its acquisition of the grain and ingredients business of US oilseed and ingredients firm Gavilon last year, while the merger would enhance Bunge’s US grain exporting and oilseed processing businesses, Reuters wrote at the time of the acquisition.