Andrew Robb, Australia's Minister for Trade and Investment, told
an investor conference in Hong Kong that "there may be another
opportunity at some stage" for ADM to pursue GrainCorp, according to
a webcast of his comments.
Illinois-based ADM, which is more U.S.-focused than rivals Cargill
Inc <CARG.UL>, Bunge Ltd <BG.N> and Louis Dreyfus Corp <LOUDR.UL>,
pursued GrainCorp last year to improve its access to fast-growing
In November, Australian Treasurer Joe Hockey rejected ADM's planned
A$2.8 billion ($2.6 billion) takeover of GrainCorp, saying it was
not in the country's national interest. He said, however, he was
open to ADM increasing its stake in GrainCorp to nearly 25 percent.
Robb said he thought the opportunity for ADM to increase its stake
was "intended as a signal that the timing was wrong" for its initial
"At the time, it was seen primarily from a competitive point of
view," Robb said about the deal. There were concerns "that it would
cut across some very constructive transition and the buildup of
competition that had been taking place in that sector after many
years of being under a statutory authority," he added.
A spokeswoman for ADM declined to comment.
ADM Chief Executive Patricia Woertz last month said the company was
pleased with its 19.8 percent stake in GrainCorp and had no plans to
[to top of second column]
ADM shares on Friday ended up 0.26 percent at $43.21 after earlier
touching a high of $43.60, the stock's highest price since December
"With Australia blocking the deal the first time around, to me that
kind of closed the book on ADM's pursuit of GrainCorp," Morningstar
analyst Jeff Stafford said. "It sounds like that may not be the case
now given the comment."
Australia is the world's third-largest wheat exporter and GrainCorp
is its largest listed grains company, handling about a third of the
country's wheat production. GrainCorp dominates the country's East
Coast storage, distribution and marketing of grains, handling 85
percent of eastern Australia's exports.
(Reporting by Tom Polansek; editing by G. Crosse)
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