ADM enhances package for GrainCorp deal

by Eric Schroeder
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DECATUR, ILL. — With just a few weeks to go before Australian treasurer Joe Hockey is scheduled to make a decision on Archer Daniels Midland’s proposed takeover of GrainCorp Ltd., Decatur-based ADM on Nov. 26 enhanced its takeover offer with a package of additional commitments.

ADM now has pledged an additional A$200 million investment to strengthen GrainCorp’s Australian grain storage and handling network, with specific emphasis on rail enhancement projects. The company also is eying price caps on grain handling charges at silos and ports, and has committed to grain infrastructure access for growers and third parties and an “open access” regime for port services.

The commitments are in addition to existing capital expenditure and other commitments ADM set out in its bidder’s statement. They include a $50 million enhancement to GrainCorp’s planned capital expenditure over the next few years.

“Throughout our effort to secure approvals for our proposed acquisition of GrainCorp, we have worked constructively to create value for grain growers and the Australian economy as well as shareholders of GrainCorp and ADM,” said Ian Pinner, president of ADM Grain. “We have had substantive discussions with growers, policymakers and other stakeholders, and we’ve been committed to finding common ground and developing solutions that address issues and opportunities that have been raised.

“Taking into account the feedback we received, we are committing to a further package of investments and initiatives to help ensure that Australian agriculture is able to serve a key role in meeting growing global demand.”

Mr. Pinner said the additional capital investment that ADM will bring to GrainCorp represents a 100% increase in GrainCorp’s original A$250 million capital expenditure budget prior to ADM’s proposal. Taken together, the capital investments ADM has committed to support or make for the GrainCorp business total A$500 million, he said.

ADM has been in engaged in talks to acquire Sydney, Australia-based GrainCorp for more than year, and has received clearance from seven out of nine jurisdictions, with Australia and China the two remaining holdouts. Australia is set to make a decision by Dec. 17, and ADM said it expects closing to be sometime in the first quarter of fiscal 2014.

In May of this year ADM announced plans to acquire GrainCorp in an offer that implied an aggregate transaction value of about A$3.4 billion ($3.2 billion).
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