The Competition Bureau has announced that they have entered into a consent agreement with Agrium which addresses
the Bureau's concerns arising from Agrium's proposed
acquisition of the majority of Viterra Inc.'s retail
agricultural business from Glencore International PLC. During
the merger review process, the Bureau concluded that the proposed
merger would likely lead to a substantial prevention or lessening
of competition in the retail supply of anhydrous ammonia and urea
to farmers in certain areas of Alberta and Saskatchewan. As a
result, the consent agreement calls for Agrium to divest seven
retail stores and nine anhydrous ammonia businesses in the affected
areas of Alberta and Saskatchewan.
The agreement also calls for Agrium to supply anhydrous ammonia
to any purchaser of the divested assets for up to four
years at prices not to exceed those charged to its retail
outlets in Alberta and Saskatchewan. This
provision was placed in the consent agreement as
a result of the Bureau's concerns about the ability of
retailers to source anhydrous ammonia in a concentrated
During the review, the Bureau concluded that Agrium and Viterra
were close rivals, and that Viterra was a vigorous competitor of
Agrium, which is the largest manufacturer of anhydrous ammonia and
urea in Western Canada. Due to specific physical and chemical
characteristics of the two products in question, the Bureau
concluded that the geographical scope of the market for these two
products was local. Accordingly, the Bureau reviewed the 40
local markets where the parties overlapped in the retail supply of
anhydrous ammonia and urea. They identified the local markets
where there was a high level of concentration, and the consent
agreement addresses these specific local markets.
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The Canadian Competition Bureau issued a template document for use as a form of Consent Agreement, to be filed with the Competition Tribunal to resolve concerns the Bureau may have with proposed mergers.
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