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ADM’s Offer for GrainCorp Needs More Scrutiny, Lawmakers Say

Archer-Daniels-Midland Co.’s planned A$2.2 billion ($2 billion) takeover of GrainCorp Ltd. should be re-examined by Australia’s competition regulator, a committee of federal lawmakers said.

A separate appraisal of the deal being made by the Foreign Investment Review Board should examine a possible loss of tax revenue and distortion of the country’s agriculture market, the Senate Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport committee said today in an interim report.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission “didn’t have the expertise or the resources to ask the questions which we have asked,” and should reexamine the planned takeover, committee chairman Senator Bill Heffernan said today in a phone interview. The commission said June 27 it didn’t plan to oppose the deal.

Decatur, Illinois-based ADM has agreed to acquire GrainCorp for A$12.20 a share, subject to approval from the board and China’s Ministry of Commerce. The approvals are necessary as the deal gives ADM, the world’s biggest corn processor, control over seven of the eight ports that ship grain in bulk from Australia’s east coast.

The Senate committee will seek to continue its inquiry when Parliament resumes after Australia’s Sept. 7 election and plans to seek evidence in public hearings from Cargill Inc., Glencore Xstrata Plc and Toepfer International, Heffernan said by phone. Lawmakers will ask ADM and GrainCorp to supply additional evidence, he said.

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