Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Richardson to spend $40M to boost ag operations

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RICHARDSON International Limited is investing $40 million in increased grain storage, high-speed fertilizer blenders, a fertilizer-distribution centre and the creation of four new crop-input locations.

The latest batch of investments in the Richardson Pioneer grain-handling network is on top of hundreds of millions of dollars the Winnipeg-based, family-owned business has already pledged in the past couple of years.

Much of the most recently announced capital spending is to enhance assets Richardson recently acquired in the $800-million-plus purchase of 19 grain elevators, 13 crop-input centres, an export terminal in Thunder Bay and oat- and wheat-milling business from Viterra.

Darwin Sobkow, executive vice-president of agribusiness operations at Richardson International Limited, said consolidation in the Prairie grain-handling business may be over so the timing is right for the company to solidify its position in the market.

"Now it is a matter of trying to shift market share by further enhancing your service offering and making sure that you are stable enough to hold onto market share you currently have," Sobkow said. "With changes to the Canadian Wheat Board we see players like Bunge, ADM, Louis-Dreyfus looking at Canada as a growth area. We want to make sure we stabilize our whole infrastructure and... make it very difficult for them to enter."

Richardson will build crop-input centres at four former Viterra terminals that did not have them -- South Lakes (Stony Mountain) and Red River South (Letellier), Man., Kindersley, Sask., and Lacombe, Alta.

Each will receive high-speed blenders, fertilizer storage and a 6,000-square-foot chemical and seed warehouse.

Richardson is also building a 35,000-tonne fertilizer distribution centre at Carlton Crossing (Saskatoon), Sask., and adding six high-speed fertilizer blenders at its Richardson Pioneer locations in Oyen and Magrath, Alta., Kamsack, Saskatoon and Shellbrook, Sask. and Shoal Lake, Man.

As well, in 2013 Richardson plans to add 14,000 metric tonnes of storage capacity to each of its elevators in Carseland, Alta., Crooked River, Sask. and Shoal Lake, Man., increasing capacity at these facilities between 54 and 68 per cent.

This is all in addition to a number of other major capital projects Richardson already has underway. In April, the company announced it is investing $120 million to expand its grain terminal in Vancouver and it is increasing capacity at its canola-processing facility in Yorkton by 25 per cent and also plans to expand its canola-processing facility in Lethbridge.

martin.cash@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition June 11, 2013 B6

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