CALGARY, ALTA. — Viterra Inc., Canada’s largest grain handler, is in discussions to acquire Australia-based ABB Grain Ltd. for as much as A$1.6 billion ($1.1 billion). As part of the non-binding proposal, ABB said Viterra has offered between A$9 and A$9.50 per share and comprises a mix of cash, Viterra shares and dividends.

"ABB and Viterra are engaged in discussions that may or may not lead to a binding agreement," ABB said. "There is no assurance that agreement will be reached or that a transaction will take place at all or within the reported ranged. The proposal is subject to a number of conditions."

Viterra, which recently has opened grain marketing offices in Singapore and Geneva, has talked openly in recent months about possible acquisitions in Australia, Europe and the United States. The company in 2008 raised several hundred million dollars to fund any potential acquisitions.