Friday November 21, 2014

Ritz has eye on Glencore

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Federal agriculture minister Gerry Ritz indicated the federal government will be doing its research into news stories about Glencore International, in the wake of a damaging BBC documentary on the company released recently.

Glencore is the Swiss-based company looking to take over Canadian grain giant Viterra in a proposed $6.1 billion takeover.

However, a recently-produced BBC documentary called Billionaires Behaving Badly has accused Glencore of employing child labourers as young as 10 years old in the Congo. The BBC’s reports also accuses the company of paying off paramilitaries in Colombia.

Ritz was asked about the documentary by reporters Wednesday in North Battleford at an event at the Canadian Feed Research Centre.

“Of course we take note of all those types of stories,” said Ritz, who went on to say the Viterra board still have to vote before any takeover is approved, and an overview is still to be done under the Investments Canada Act.

The takeover bid must meet the country’s net-benefit for Canadians requirement for foreign ownership under the act.

Ritz told reporters the government will do their research on Glencore but stressed that for every negative story there are also positive ones out there, so all those have to be “taken into the mix,” he said.

“We’re always concerned when you read stories like that. Of course you have to make sure they are valid to begin with,” said Ritz.

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