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April 30, 2009 – 11:09AM

Canadian agribusiness Viterra Inc is looking to raise $CAD450 million ($A515.018 million) in equity through a private placement to help pay for ABB Grain Ltd, should Viterra decide to make a formal takeover offer for the Australian grains marketer.

“Proceeds of the offering will provide a portion of the funding that may be required should Viterra determine that it will proceed with the acquisition of shares of ABB Grain Ltd, via a scheme of arrangement,” Viterra said in a statement.

Viterra and ABB are presently engaged in continuing negotiations and due diligence activities.

“We feel it is important to put ourselves in a position to act quickly should due diligence and negotiations result in a strategic transaction,” Viterra chief executive Mayo Schmidt said.

ABB Grain said on Tuesday this week that it had received a conditional and non-binding proposal from Viterra to acquire all of the shares in ABB via a scheme of arrangement.

ABB said the proposal was within the range of $9.00 to $9.50 per ABB share and comprised a mix of cash, Viterra shares and franked dividends.

The Viterra proposal values ABB at between $1.55 billion and $1.64 billion.

Viterra said it will raise the $CAD450 million in equity via a bought deal subscription receipt offering at $CAD8.00 per subscription receipt.

Each subscription receipt represents the right of the holder to receive, at no extra cost, one Viterra share upon the acquisition closing of ABB Grain.

If the acquisition does not occur, holders of the subscription receipts will receive a refund of the purchase price.

ABB Grain shares were four cents lower at $8.71 at 1051 AEST on Thursday.

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