Glencore Agri Changes Name to Viterra, Doesn’t Plan to Go Public

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Glencore Plc’s agriculture unit has changed its name, a move that further distances the business from the world’s largest commodities trader, but which the company said isn’t a step toward public listing.

The agriculture division has rebranded to Viterra, the name of a Canadian crop handler it acquired in 2012, according to an emailed statement. The new identity will be implemented in most of the 37 countries where the company operates, with the change scheduled to take place in May in places including agriculture powerhouses Brazil, Australia, Russia and Ukraine.

The move comes four years after Glencore sold almost half of its agribusiness to the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board and British Columbia Investment Management Corp. The unit has already set up its own legal, technology and financial systems, and Chief Executive Officer David Mattiske said in August the business was ready for its next transition.

“The name change is not a step towards a public listing; it is a progression following the investment by CPP Investments and BCI in 2016,” the company said in a statement to Bloomberg. “Our shareholders remain supportive of the current structure and share our vision for future growth and success.”

The intention to change names was first announced in August and stoked speculation Glencore wants to divest its stake. The Baar, Switzerland-based trader remains the crop unit’s largest shareholder, holding a 49.99% stake. Canada’s CPP owns 39.99%, while BCI has 9.99% and an employees trust 0.03%.

“Glencore has created the business we are today and the strong relationship between the two businesses will continue,” the company said in response to a question from Bloomberg on whether the parent planned to sell its stake.

The acquisition of Viterra eight years ago gave Glencore grain assets in Canada and Australia. The name, which means vitality from the earth, “strongly positions us for future growth,” said Mattiske, who took the top job last year.

Former CEO Chris Mahoney had previously expressed ambitions to expand and break the dominance of the biggest crop merchants including Cargill Inc. and Archer-Daniels-Midland Co., with a hunt for U.S. assets yielding no deals.

Viterra has more than 16,000 employees, handling a network of storage facilities, processing plants and transport assets. Apart from the name change -- which will also happen in May for Egypt, Kazakhstan, New Zealand and Romania -- it’s “business as usual,” according to the statement.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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