Viterra Inc.

Viterra Inc.
ABB Grain Ltd.

ABB Grain Ltd.

July 02, 2009 20:23 ET

Viterra and ABB to Implement Grain Volume Insurance and Remove Volume Variation Fee

CALGARY, ALBERTA--(Marketwire - July 2, 2009) - Viterra Inc. (TSX:VT) and ABB Grain (ASX:ABB) are pleased to announce program changes and enhancements designed to reduce weather related exposure in the Australian marketplace, subject to implementation of the scheme of arrangement previously announced by Viterra and ABB Grain, which remains subject to shareholder, court and regulatory approvals and other conditions. The changes include the introduction of grain volume insurance and the removal of the volume variation fee.

Viterra has entered into a grain volume insurance program to insure the combined company against lower than expected grain production in South Australia. This new program will allow ABB to make changes to its storage and handling charges for the benefit of Australian growers if the scheme of arrangement is implemented. Viterra has had grain volume insurance in place as part of a comprehensive risk management strategy since 2005.

The insurance program will allow the combined operation to eliminate the ABB grain volume variation charge in South Australia, removing grower exposure to the charge during difficult crop years. ABB Grain previously investigated grain volume insurance and concluded it was not, at the time, economical to obtain such coverage on a stand alone basis.

The two companies have also reviewed ABB's storage and handling charges in an effort to simplify the disclosure to ensure that it is in a strong position to actively compete for growers business on a daily basis. More details on the revised fee structure will be provided once the integration of the two companies has commenced.

The insurance coverage, contingent upon the successful combination of ABB and Viterra, will reduce the financial impact on ABB Grain should adverse weather conditions impact grain receivals in the future. The program would begin to pay out in the event of approximately a 33% drop in average annual South Australian grain production levels and would fully pay out in the event of a 65% drop in production. The maximum payout under the program is $27 million Australian.

Viterra's President and Chief Executive Officer, Mayo Schmidt says, "Viterra's ability to extend its Canadian grain volume insurance program to include the operations of ABB Grain is a creative solution that reduces the risk profile of the combined company. It illustrates the kind of benefits and innovation that we can bring to the table collectively, working together to bring value to the business, its growers, shareholders and destination customers".

ABB's Managing Director, Michael Iwaniw said, "the combined company will be in a position to respond proactively to growers in advance of this year's harvest. Feedback from growers prompted us to examine our storage and handling charges. ABB has investigated the provision of crop insurance in the past but concluded it was not viable on a stand alone basis. If the combination of ABB and Viterra proceeds, and based on the financial strength of the combined company, the company will be able to put in place a program that addresses the needs of growers. These enhancements will position the combined company competitively in both the Australian and global marketplace and will allow the company to increase the demand for Australian production around the world."

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.

About ABB

ABB Grain Ltd. is a leading Australian agribusiness with a multi-faceted operation and international focus. ABB's diversified operations stretch across the entire supply chain. The company's core business divisions include national supply chain, grain marketing, malt and rural services. ABB employs 1100 staff across its divisions throughout Australia and its international operations.

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Contact Information

  • Viterra Inc.
    Peter Flengeris
    Media contact
    (306) 569-4810
    ABB Grain
    Kenn Pearce
    Media Manager
    08 8304 5105