Blog: ADM moves to reassure opposers of GrainCorp deal

Michelle Russell | 6 November 2013

US agribusiness giant Archer Daniels Midland has attempted to dampen growing political and industry opposition to its acquisition of Australian grain trader GrainCorp in the country.

ADM tabled an offer of A$12.2 per share for GrainCorp earlier this year after completing an agreed period of due diligence on the firm.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission approved the deal in June, but the acquisition is still to be given the okay by the country's federal government.

As the deadline for authorities to rule on the A$3bn (US$) deal has approached opposition has steadily grown.

The deal has resulted in concern from growers that they could be hit with higher grain-handling fees. It also appears to have split the Coalition, with the Nationals warning Australia will lose control of its own food security if the sale is approved.

ADM grains president Ian Pinner, however, has moved to reassure growers it won't restrict access to ports or hike fees to uncompetitive levels.

"When we talk about the investment that we'll make in the supply chain ... and the commitments that ADM is making, we're not going to change the way GrainCorp operates, in fact we want to improve it,'' he told Australia's ABC radio today (6 November).

"With regards to fees ... it's not in our interests to be uncompetitive in a marketplace that has a lot of choice. Our goal is to ensure through being the preferred supplier that we're bringing as much grain through those assets as possible and to do that we have to be competitive."

Pinner said he believes farmers will benefit from wider access to foreign markets through ADM's global network.

Most foreign investment deals are approved by Australian authorities, particularly those involving US-based companies, a long-time ally of the country.

A decision on the deal is expected to be made by 17 December.

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