Big pulse firm buys Ilta Grain assets

One of the biggest players in the global pulse industry has greatly expanded its footprint in Western Canada.

ETG Commodities is buying four processing facilities from the now defunct Ilta Grain Inc.

The Mississauga, Ont.-based company bought Ilta’s cleaning plant and splitting facility in North Battleford, Sask., as well as cleaning plants in Cut Knife, Sask., and Swift Current, Sask.

The purchase price was not disclosed, but according to a court document filed by court-appointed monitor PricewaterhouseCoopers, ETG was outbid for the assets by DG Global Inc.

However, DG Global was unable to arrange financing fast enough so the four assets were sold to ETG. DG Global bought the Saskatoon processing plant instead.

ETG did not want to comment on the deal until it receives final approval from the courts.

Dwight Gerling with DG Global said the Saskatoon asset is a perfect fit for the behind-the-scenes company.

“We’re not a household name in the western Canadian special crops industry, but we actually move a lot of special crops,” he said.

“This is just giving us more access to control our quality, volumes, etc.”

Gerling said this will be the first processing asset for a company that is one of the largest shippers of containerized agricultural goods in Canada.

“Saskatoon is built for containers and we’re a container shipping company,” he said.

DG Global wanted to buy the other four Ilta assets on the block but found itself in a time crunch.

“The unfortunate reality is we got all the information way behind the other people,” said Gerling.

“They didn’t think we would be interested in all the plants.”

The only other sale was the Belle Plaine, Sask., facility, which went to Viterra. That sale has been approved by the courts. The others are expected to be finalized by the end of October.

The new acquisitions more than double ETG’s existing Saskatchewan pulse processing assets. It operates a cleaning plant and red lentil splitter in Swift Current and a chickpea cleaning plant in Success.

ETG is the Canadian subsidiary of Export Trading Group, a company based in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, that employs more than 7,000 people in 40 countries.

The company entered the Canadian market in 2012 and acquired its first Canadian processing assets in 2014 with the purchase of TW Commodities in Swift Current.

ETG exports Canadian pulses, canola and flax to about 15 countries. Key markets include India, Europe, South America and Mexico.

In the meantime, the Canadian Grain Commission continues to determine whether growers will be fully compensated for grain they delivered to Ilta Grain.

The commission holds a $12 million insurance policy with Atradius and has also negotiated an escrow account worth about $3 million related to grain deliveries for which no cheques were issued.

The grain commission says more than 300 claims have been filed by farmers owed money by Ilta. The commission did not respond to a Western Producer request asking for the total amount of those claims.

Contact sean.pratt@producer.com

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