Viterra to buy Gardiner Dam Terminal

One of the few remaining farmer-owned grain elevators in Western Canada has struck a deal to sell its assets to Viterra.

In a Nov. 16 news release, Gardiner Dam Terminal, based at Strongfield, Sask., says it has entered into an agreement to sell a 50 percent interest in GDT along with its wholly owned subsidiary, GDT AgServices Ltd., to Viterra for an estimated purchase price of $27.8 to $30.2 million.

Viterra already holds a 50 percent interest in the company’s grain operations but would become the sole owner of all GDT assets pending shareholder approval, which will be sought at a special shareholder meeting Dec. 13.

After adjustments, settlement of outstanding GDT liabilities and costs associated with closing the deal, GDT shareholders could expect to receive $1,175 to $1,275 per share, the GDT news release suggests.

GDT’s 23,727 outstanding shares are held by approximately 230 shareholders, most of them local investors.

If the deal is approved, Viterra has also agreed to sell all crop production assets currently owned by GDT AgServices to the Riverbend Co-op Ltd., based in Outlook, Sask.

Those assets include GDT AgServices retail outlets at Broderick, Strongfield and Tullis.

GDT chief executive officer said Shawn Graham said the terminal’s board of directors began in earnest to explore opportunities to sell the company after shareholder engagement sessions held in the fall of 2017.

Shareholders at the sessions expressed a desire to explore options and liquidate shareholder equity in the company.

“The (GDT) board has been working diligently over the past year to allow our shareholders a way to capture the value created by 18 years of success and prosperity,” GDT board chair Ron Bartel said in the Nov. 16 news release.

“The board feels that Viterra and Riverbend Co-operative Ltd. will be a highly competitive and progressive presence for our farmers, employees and members of the community and will ensure the long-term future of grain handling and crop input services in the area.”

GDT currently employs 24 people at its terminal and ag retail outlets.

Graham said all but two of those employees — both of them managers — will receive offers of employment from Viterra or Riverbend Co-op if the deal goes ahead.

The transaction is expected to close Dec. 19.

The sale of ag retail assets to Riverbend Co-op would expand Riverbend’s holdings in the fertilizer and ag retail sectors.

Riverbend already operates Co-op Agro Centres in Outlook, Davidson, Beechy and Wiseton, as well as six card lock fuel centres in the region.

“This is an exciting opportunity for our co-op to significantly increase our presence in the ag sector in central Saskatchewan,” said Riverbend general manager Greg Sarvis.

“We’re looking forward to welcoming new employees to our team and working closely with customers to show them the benefits we can offer.”

Strongfield is located about 100 kilometres south of Saskatoon.

Contact brian.cross@producer.com

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