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Glencore-backed grain handling business Viterra reported record annual sales volumes of 127M tonnes in 2023 ahead of its merger with leading US agribusiness Bunge, World Grain reported.

The company reported a revenue of US$54.67bn, earnings before income tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) of US$2.147bn and net income of US$453M in 2023, the 3 March report said.

Vittera’s record sales performance came against a backdrop of its pending merger with Bunge Global SA, expected to be completed later this year, World Grain wrote.

The companies announced last year that they would be merging to create an approximately US$34bn agricultural trading giant, Reuters reported on 13 June.

During the regulatory and pre-close phases, Viterra said it remained focused on maintaining a strong operational performance. The companies began integration planning in October with the merger expected to close in mid-2024.

“In a year characterised by geopolitical, logistical and environmental challenges, 2023 provided opportunity for Viterra to demonstrate the true strength and resilience of its network,” Viterra CEO David Mattiske said.

“This achievement (record sales), during what has been a turbulent year for the agriculture industry, reflects the positive addition of our US & Mexico business, as well as the expertise, agility and commitment of our people.”

In its 2023 annual report, Viterra said revenue was up 2% from US$53.85bn in 2022, driven by the record sales volume, which more than offset the impact of a reduced-price environment.

Viterra said its total sales volume growth was due to the successful integration of Gavilon following its acquisition in October 2022 and growth in origination volumes in Argentina, Brazil and Europe.

The company’s marketing volumes in 2023 included 75.9M tonnes of grain – up 17% from the previous year – while oilseeds jumped 40% to 47.8M tonnes. A total of US$26bn in revenue was generated by the grain business during last year while oilseeds revenue totalled US$25.93bn.

The impacts of drought in Argentina and tighter origination margins in Canada were offset by strong contributions from Europe, Australia and Brazil, as well as the addition of the US & Mexico business through the Gavilon acquisition, World Grain wrote.

In October, Viterra sold all its Russian businesses for a combined total of US$82M, resulting in a gain of US$3M. The disposals included the wholly owned subsidiaries MZK Export LLC, Rostovsky KHP LLC and Antex+ LLC, sold for a total of US$42M cash, and a 50% equity interest in a joint venture, Taman Grain Terminal Holdings, sold for US$40M cash.

Viterra also sold its 50% equity interest in Advanced Organic Materials (AOM) for an initial total consideration of US$46M.

Looking ahead for 2024, Mattiske said Vittera’s merger with Bunge would provide greater market access across its network, while crop production recovery in Argentina and North America were expected to boost its business performance.

“The combination of our highly complementary businesses will allow us to fast-track our core growth strategies, further strengthening our business portfolio through a diversified earnings mix,” Mattiske said.

“The combination of Viterra and Bunge will open new opportunities for our people and create significant value for our customers and investors.”