Bunge-Viterra Merger Advances

Bunge Issues Shares for Viterra as Canadian Farmers Call for More Scrutiny of Grain Deal

Chris Clayton
By  Chris Clayton , DTN Ag Policy Editor
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Bunge is merging with Viterra, creating a company that had a combined $122 billion in sales globally in 2022. Canadian officials have announced they are scrutinizing the deal. Pictured is Bunge's soy-crushing facility just south of Council Bluffs, Iowa. (DTN photo by Chris Clayton)

OMAHA (DTN) -- Bunge Limited shareholders on Thursday agreed to approve a merger with Viterra, while agricultural groups in Canada want more scrutiny of the deal.

Bunge, in a news release, agreed to issue 65.6 million common shares of stock that will go to shareholders for Netherlands-based Viterra. They also agreed to incorporate the parent company for Bunge Group in Switzerland. Bunge cited that its merger with Viterra, announced in June, would close in mid-2024.

Combined, Bunge and Viterra reported $121 billion in sales in 2022 with roughly $3 billion in net income. The merger was reportedly valued at $18 billion when shares, cash and debt were tallied.

"We appreciate our shareholders' vote of confidence in our strategy to position Bunge as a premier global agribusiness solutions company through the merger with Viterra," said Bunge CEO Greg Heckman. "Our team is focused on effectively running our operations while also planning for a successful integration. We are committed to creating an innovative global agribusiness company, well-positioned to meet the demands of increasingly complex markets and better serve farmers and end-customers."

While U.S. regulators have remained quiet, Canadian officials announced last week they would review the deal, pointing to ownership interests both Bunge and Viterra have in port terminals across Canada. Officials said the grain deal would affect both the transportation sector and broader supply chain. The Canadian Transportation Ministry has 250 days to complete its review of the deal.

"Our government will continue to work to bring relief to consumers and to support Canadian workers and farmers," said Canadian Minister of Transport Pablo Rodriguez last week.

Earlier this week, the agricultural groups in Saskatchewan called for the provincial government to conduct its own review of the merger. In a letter to the Saskatchewan agricultural minister, the Agricultural Producers Association of Saskatchewan, SaskCanola, Sask Wheat and SaskBarley wrote that the groups want rigorous oversight of the Bunge-Viterra deal. A survey released by RealAgriculture in late September showed 79% of western farmers had expressed concerns about the merger, with Saskatchewan producers showing the highest level of concern.

The Canadian commodity groups want the province to examine the impacts on regional competition within the grain-handling system and implications for agricultural markets and commodity prices. They also want port infrastructure examined, as well as overall market concentration in the grain businesses, and impact on employment.

Chris Clayton can be reached at Chris.Clayton@dtn.com

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Chris Clayton