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Newman flags Graincorp takeover concerns

THE Queensland Government is partly opposed to the potential takeover of Graincorp and believes in investment in improving industry competition on the east coast.

America food processing giant Archer Daniels Midland has posed a conditional takeover bid for Graincorp, a move which Graincorp has rebuffed so far.

Graincorp boasts a total grain storage of up to 20 million tonnes spread across more than 2700 km from Mackay to Portland in Victoria.

Queensland Premier Campbell Newman worked for a component of what is now Graincorp - Grain Co - prior to political life.

He said he voiced his opposition to Graincorp's takeover of Grain Co to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission in 2002.

"At that time I said to the ACCC I was deeply concerned about a growing monopoly being established that covered ports along the east coast of Australia," he said.

"So Graincorp at that time was set to control Mackay, Gladstone, Pinkenba, Fisherman Islands, Newcastle...(ports).

"What I said to the ACCC that was a monopoly that had an incredible domino impact on the grain handling industry, which meant that nobody could export grain out of the east coast of Australia except out of the Melbourne terminal."

The merger went ahead and Mr Newman's concerns have re-emerged, this time with ADM's potential foreign takeover.

Mr Newman said he was not opposed to the foreign takeover but the huge monopoly dominance that may result.

"While I would be supportive of that foreign investment, I think as part of the deal if it goes ahead they should be required to divest some of the assets to improve competition in grain handling on the east coast of Australia," he said.

The Premier admitted the State Government could not do much to stop the bid but said he had flagged a meeting with the grain giant.

"All I can add is that we have already determined to sit down with Graincorp, irrespective of ownership, and look at how we can improve the grain supply chain," he said.

"Because we want to get it sorted out and make it sufficient and growers, farmer gets as much money as they possibly can..."

Topics:  campbell newman, graincorp




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