Viterra Inc.
TSX : VT

Viterra Inc.
Saskatchewan Wheat Pool Inc.

November 23, 2007 16:36 ET

Viterra: Pension Solution in the Offing

REGINA, SASKATCHEWAN--(Marketwire - Nov. 23, 2007) - Viterra (TSX:VT) is pleased to announce that it has signed a settlement agreement with the Grain Services Union ("GSU") that is expected to resolve the long-standing funding issues with the SWP-GSU Pension Plan. The agreement entails:

- Viterra moving all active employees in the SWP-GSU Plan to a defined contribution plan; no later than July 1, 2008.

- Viterra and the GSU amending the Plan with Viterra taking full responsibility to fund all pension benefits for all Plan members, with no change to the contribution rate of active Plan members.

- Viterra contributing $12 million of solvency deficiency payments and making any future quarterly deficiency payments to the Plan, as required.

- Viterra assuming the sole right to manage the Plan into the future and the risks associated with it.

The Plan covers approximately 15% of employees at Viterra.

The Company intends to use Plan assets to purchase annuities for the existing pensioner group. This group accounts for approximately 60% of Plan liabilities. This will reduce the risk of future adverse changes in Plan performance and will provide pensioners with the same monthly payments that they receive today. The pension fund assets related to active members would continue to be managed by an investment committee appointed by the Company.

The agreement between Viterra and the GSU follows the Company's earlier announcement on November 8, 2007, in which it outlined a comprehensive solution for the SWP-GSU Pension Plan's unfunded solvency deficiency. At December 31, 2006, the Plan had assets of $249 million, a going concern surplus of $17 million and a solvency deficiency of $23.5 million. Current estimates put the solvency deficiency at approximately $19 million.

Viterra's settlement agreement with the GSU requires ratification by employees covered by the Plan, and approval from Viterra's Board of Directors and the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions of Canada ("OSFI"). The SWP/GSU Plan is registered under the federal Pension Benefits Standards Act (PBSA) and is regulated by OSFI.

Saskatchewan Wheat Pool Inc., doing business as Viterra, is Canada's leading agri-business, with extensive operations and distribution capabilities across Western Canada, and with operations in the United States and Japan. The new company is diversified into sales of crop input services 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 Toronto Stock Exchange under the symbol VT.

Contact Information

  • Viterra
    Susan Cline
    Investor Relations and Corporate Affairs
    (306) 569-6948
    Website: www.viterra.ca