Viterra Inc.
TSX : VT

Viterra Inc.

July 30, 2009 23:40 ET

Viterra Supports Interim ABB Management Structure and Announces Board Appointments

CALGARY, ALBERTA--(Marketwire - July 30, 2009) - Viterra Inc. ("Viterra") (TSX:VT) fully endorses the newly appointed Executive Committee that has been put in place at ABB Grain Ltd. (ASX:ABB), ("ABB"), following the retirement of Michael Iwaniw, Managing Director.

Over the next six weeks leading up to the date of the Scheme meeting, an Executive Committee comprised of Terry O'Connor, Acting Chief Operating Officer and Chief Financial Officer Kingsley David will manage ABB and will report to a sub-committee of the Board comprised of Perry Gunner (Chairman) and Kevin Osborn.

President and Chief Executive Officer, Mayo Schmidt says, "I have had the pleasure of spending time with Mr. O'Connor and Mr. David over the past several months. They are strongly qualified individuals with significant experience in their areas of expertise."

Terry O'Connor joined ABB in 2003 and has been involved in the agri-industry for almost 30 years. His experience includes importing to and exporting from Australasia to destinations around the world. Terry O'Connor has been instrumental in the Company's integration following the merger of AusBulk in 2004. Terry is responsible for managing the New Zealand operations and providing business opportunities resulting in sustained growth for ABB.

Kingsley David, is a Fellow of CPA Australia (FCPA) with over 20 years experience in finance, the last nine with ABB. He has been Chief Financial Officer for the past two years and previously Deputy Chief Financial Officer. Kingsley has been involved in ABB's growth initiatives and international expansion and with various merger and acquisitions activities.

Should the combination of ABB and Viterra be approved, a new leader with a deep perspective of the Australian marketplace will be appointed to lead the Australian, New Zealand and South East Asian operations. This individual will become a member of Viterra's CEO Council, a group of senior Viterra executives that is charged with the development of the business and strategic plans for the organization under the direction of the President and Chief Executive Officer.

Schmidt added, "We are confident in this transaction and the merits of bringing these two great companies together. We are very pleased by the feedback we have received from the investment community and from growers. ABB Directors have unanimously recommended that ABB shareholders vote in favour of the transaction, in the absence of a superior offer. At the same time, as noted in the Scheme booklet, the Independent Expert has concluded that the Scheme is fair and reasonable and therefore in the best interests of ABB shareholders."

Board Appointments

Viterra is also pleased to confirm that four directors from ABB have been named to join Viterra's Board of Directors should the combination of the two companies proceed. The appointments would be effective following the implementation of the Scheme.

The additions, which include two Australian growers, will expand the perspective of the Viterra Board ensuring that it has the benefit of the Australian experience in the development of the Company's future global direction. Its corporate governance model will be enhanced with the addition of a Deputy Chairman position which will be filled with one of the ABB nominees.

"These appointments will facilitate significant Australian oversight and influence with respect to the strategic decision-making of the new company. We look forward to their future contributions should ABB shareholders positively endorse this transaction." said Thomas Birks, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Viterra.

The appointments include:

Mr Perry Gunner, B.AgSc, Grad. Dip. Bus. Admin

Mr. Gunner is the Chair of ABB's Board and serves on its Nomination and Remuneration Committees. He is a Director of Australian Vintage Ltd. and Freedom Nutritional Foods Limited and a previous Director of AusBulk Ltd.

Mr Max Venning, MAICD

Mr. Venning is the Deputy Chair of ABB's Board, and serves on Nomination and Grower Links Committees. A grower from Bute, South Australia, he is also a previous director of AusBulk Ltd. and United Grower Holdings Ltd.

Mr Paul Daniel, FAICD

Mr. Daniel currently serves on the Finance and Audit Committees of ABB's Board. He is a previous director of Direct Fertilizers Ltd and is a grower from Balaklava, South Australia.

Mr Kevin Osborn, FAICD, FFTA, FPNA

Mr. Osborn is the Chair of ABB's Finance and Audit Committees of the Board, and a member of the Corporate Risk and Compliance and Remuneration Committees. He is Deputy Chairman of Bendigo and Adelaide Bank Ltd and director of Leaders Institute of SA Inc.

The combination of ABB and Viterra is subject to shareholder and court approval of the Scheme (as well as other conditions). The Scheme booklet will be mailed to all ABB shareholders. A shareholder vote will take place on September 9, 2009.

Forward-Looking Information

This release contains forward looking statements that involve certain risks and uncertainties which could cause actual results to differ materially from future results expressed or implied by such statements. Important factors that could affect these statements include, without limitation, weather conditions; producer's decisions regarding total planted acreage, crop selection, and utilization levels of farm inputs such as fertilizers and pesticides; Canadian grain export levels; changes in government policy and transportation deregulation; world agricultural commodity prices and markets; changes in competitive forces including pricing pressures; and global political and economic conditions, including grain subsidy actions of the United States and European Union.

About Viterra

Viterra Inc. is Canada's leading agribusiness, with extensive operations and distribution capabilities across Western Canada, and with operations in the United States, Japan, Singapore and Geneva. The Company is diversified into sales and services of crop inputs and equipment, grain handling and marketing, livestock feed, agri-food processing and financial products. These operations are complemented by value-added businesses and strategic alliances, which allow Viterra to leverage its pivotal position between Prairie farmers and destination customers. The Company's common shares are listed on the TSX under the symbol VT.

Contact Information

  • Viterra Inc.
    Peter Flengeris
    Investor Relations and Corporate Affairs
    (306) 569-4810
    www.viterra.ca