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Glencore Interested in Expanding North America Agriculture

Sept. 10 (Bloomberg) -- Glencore Xstrata Plc, which purchased Canada’s largest grain handler Viterra Inc. last year, is interested in expanding agriculture holdings in North America, Chief Executive Officer Ivan Glasenberg said.

Glencore, the world’s biggest publicly traded commodities supplier, will market 70 million metric tons of agricultural products globally in 2013, including 25 million tons of wheat, Chris Mahoney, the company’s director of agricultural products, said at an investor conference today in London. The total is up from about 46 million tons in 2012. Glencore International Plc, which merged with Xstrata Plc this year to form the world’s fourth-biggest mining company, completed the purchase of Regina, Saskatchewan-based Viterra in December.

“In North America we’re not as strong as we’d like to be,” Glasenberg said, speaking on a panel with Mahoney. “That’s an area we’d like to look at in some stage. If something comes available we’ll look at it seriously, but we’re not going to be aggressively looking for something. We’ll let the opportunities come to us.”

Glencore doesn’t have agricultural storage, milling or port facilities in the U.S., the world’s largest producer or corn and soybeans and the biggest exporter of wheat, according to documents released today by the company. It plans to sell its only U.S. agricultural production asset, a pasta plant in North Dakota, Mahoney said.

The Viterra purchase gave Glencore assets including grain handling facilities at ports in Canada and Australia, and almost 10 million tons of combined storage capacity in both countries, documents show. Glencore also has assets including mills, crushing plants and biofuel facilities in South America, Europe and the former Soviet Union, and farms about 270,000 hectares (667,000 acres) of land worldwide, the company said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Whitney McFerron in London at wmcferron1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Claudia Carpenter at ccarpenter2@bloomberg.net

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