ROTTERDAM, THE NETHERLANDS — Agribusiness giants Viterra and Bunge Ltd. are engaged in merger discussions, according to a Bloomberg report. Viterra spokesman Jeff Cockwill declined to comment on the merger rumors when reached by World Grain, (sister publication to Pet Food Processing) while Bunge did not respond to a request for comment.
Rotterdam, Netherlands-based Viterra, part-owned by Switzerland-based Glencore and formerly known as Glencore Agriculture, operates a network of agricultural storage, processing and transport assets in 37 countries. Bunge, based in St. Louis, Mo., is a world leader in oilseed processing and a leading supplier of specialty plant-based oils and fats, operating approximately 300 facilities in more than 40 countries.
This is not the first time that merger rumors about the companies have surfaced. In 2017, Glencore made a takeover approach for Bunge that ultimately failed. A year later, The Wall Street Journal reported that ADM approached Bunge about a possible takeover bid, suggesting that a bidding war between ADM and Glencore could ensue, but Bunge, which at the time was struggling with sagging profits and considered vulnerable, ultimately chose to remain an independent company.
A few months later, Bunge hired Gregory Heckman as its chief executive officer and during the past four years the company’s financial performance has rebounded significantly. The company, which in 2017 was valued at $11 billion, has an estimated value of $14 billion today.
Upon news of the merger talks, Bunge’s stock price rose sharply on May 25 from $88.95 per share to $94.49 before settling at $93.61 at the end of the day.
Speaking to Bloomberg, an anonymous source said there was no certainty that Viterra, which became part of Glencore in 2012, will be able to reach an agreement on the terms of the deal.
Viterra reported its most successful year ever in 2022 with a record EBITDA of $2.65 billion, noting record production in its main export regions among the reasons for its strong performance. Viterra recently acquired another US-based grain company, Gavilon, for its grain origination and storage and food ingredients business.
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