S.W.P. succeeds in takeover of Agricore

by Ron Sterk
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REGINA, SASK. — The Saskatchewan Wheat Pool Inc. (S.W.P.) said it has succeeded in its offer to acquire Agricore United (A.U.), taking up about 82% of the common shares and 49% of the preferred shares of A.U. and extending the offer until June 12 for the remaining untendered shares.

S.W.P. met the minimum tender condition of its offer, which required at least 75% of the A.U. common shares to be validly deposited at the time the offer expired, and declared its offers to be wholly unconditional.

"This was a key step for the Pool and Agricore United to begin planning for the integration of the two companies," said Mayo Schmidt, president and chief executive officer of the S.W.P. "We are very pleased with the support we have received from A.U. shareholders in the tendering process. Together, the Pool and A.U. can now move forward with confidence and focus on the opportunities that lie ahead for Canada’s agribusiness leader."

The approximate 49 million common shares taken up by the S.W.P. will be acquired for C$20.50 in cash per share. The 545,193 preferred shares taken up will be acquired for C$24 in cash plus accrued and unpaid dividends. The S.W.P. did not own any shares previously.

The S.W.P. said it expects A.U. will become a wholly owned subsidiary of the S.W.P. on or about July 15.

"Our proposal would give Saskatchewan Wheat Pool and Agricore a stronger and more diversified presence amidst the growing demands of a highly competitive marketplace," Mr. Schmidt said prior to the start of the hostile takeover last November. "We believe that the complementary strengths of a united Saskatchewan Wheat Pool and Agricore would result in enormous advantages for customers and shareholders alike, and the market in which we operate."

S.W.P. and A.U. stock is traded on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

The two companies would produce annual revenue of about $4.3 billion and estimated synergies of about $60 million, the S.W.P. said. Combining the companies would result in enhanced customer services, stronger geographical representation in the Prairie provinces, and maximize returns by improving overall efficiency of grain flow to export positions, among others, the S.W.P. said at the time it began the takeover.

The S.W.P., headquartered in Regina, has a Prairie-wide grain handling and agri-products marketing network and channels grain to end-use markets around the world.

Agricore, based in Winnipeg, Man., has extensive operations and distribution capabilities across western Canada, and in the U.S. and Japan. It also does grain merchandising and sells crop inputs and services, livestock production services and financial services.

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