Canada Clears Glencore's £4bn Takeover of Viterra
Comment of the Day

July 16 2012

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Canada Clears Glencore's £4bn Takeover of Viterra

This article may be of interest to subscribers given the current heightened interest in the agriculture sector. Here is a section:
He cited commitments that Glencore has made, including a boost to Viterra's capital spending by more than C$100 million over five years, work on initiatives with Manitoba and Saskatchewan governments, and charitable contributions.

Chris Mahoney, Director of Agricultural Products, Glencore, said in a statement, "We are very pleased to receive Investment Canada approval, which recognises the long term benefits for farmers and Canada from our acquisition of Viterra."

The acquisition will make Glencore a stronger rival to agriculture companies including Archer Daniels Midland, Bunge, Cargill and Louis Dreyfus Corp. These companies are sometimes referred to as the industry's ABCD quartet.

It could also help Glencore benefit from growing global demand for food, especially as diets and incomes improve in China and India.

Viterra controls nearly half the grain-handling market share in Canada, the biggest exporter of spring wheat, durum and canola.

Glencore anticipates transferring most of Viterra's retail agri-products business, including a 34pc stake in Canadian Fertilizer, to Calgary-based Agrium for C$1.8 billion.

Eoin Treacy's view The mining sector has been going through a process of consolidation and Glencore has been at the forefront of recent efforts to acquire promising assets. This policy contrasts quite sharply with the practice followed by other mining companies who have a very poor record of favourable acquisitions. BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto paid top dollar for natural gas and aluminium assets respectively which had a negative effect on their balance sheets.

The decline in metal prices in tandem with this aggressive acquisition strategy has weighed on Glencore's share price. It has developed a short-term oversold condition relative to the 200-day MA and found at least short-term support in the region of 300p late last month. There is still ample opportunity for a reversion towards the mean but a sustained move above 370p will be required to break the progression of lower rally highs and confirm a return to demand dominance beyond the short-term.

Against a background where sentiment continues to deteriorate towards the industrial metals sector it is notable that copper found support in the region of its December lows from early June and has held a progression of higher reaction lows since. These will need to hold if potential for additional upside is to continue to be given the benefit of the doubt. Lead, zinc and tin are all currently in the region of their 2011 lows and will need to hold in this region if potential for a further unwind of short-term oversold conditions is to be given the benefit of the doubt. Both Nickel and Aluminium dropped below their respective 2011 lows in May but paused in June. They will need to break their short-term progressions of lower rally highs to suggest a return to demand dominance beyond scope for a short-term bounce.

Industrial metal mining companies have generally followed the lead of metal prices. BHP Billiton, Rio Tinto, VALE, Xstrata, Freeport McMoRan, Teck Resources, Fortescue Metals, Cliffs Natural Resources and Inmet Mining are all currently in the region of their respective 2011 lows where they have at least paused. They will need to at least hold in this region to further question supply dominance. Eventual moves back above their 200-day MAs will be needed to suggest returns to medium-term demand dominance. Antofagasta has a similar pattern to copper.

Anglo American has been ranging below the 2011 lows near 2200p since mid-May and while it has paused over the last couple of months, it will need to sustain a move back above 2200p to suggest a return to medium-term demand dominance.

The Blackrock World Mining Trust currently trades at a discount to NAV of 9.32%. It has been ranging below the late 2011 lows for the last few months and will need to sustain a move above 600p to begin to suggest a return to demand dominance.

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