P+H to expand Alberta ag retail reach

CPS ordered to divest four east-central Alberta outlets

(ParrishandHeimbecker.com)

Grain company Parrish and Heimbecker plans to expand its crop input retail space into east-central Alberta by buying four store sites in a federally-mandated sale.

The privately-held Winnipeg firm on Monday announced it has reached an agreement with Agrium’s retail arm, Crop Production Services, to buy the sites at Sedgewick, Wainwright, St. Paul and Marwayne.

The federal Competition Bureau in September had ordered CPS to find a buyer for the four sites, which are all within about a 200-km-diameter area between Edmonton and Lloydminster.

The bureau had ordered the divestiture as a condition of its approval for CPS’ purchase of Andrukow Group Solutions, an independent crop retail chain operating mainly in Alberta.

Without the four divestitures, the bureau said at the time, CPS’ takeover of Andrukow “would lead to a substantial lessening or prevention of competition in the retail supply of urea, UAN or anhydrous ammonia in a number of local markets in Alberta and Saskatchewan.”

The retail sites at Marwayne and St. Paul, about 40 and 150 km northwest of Lloydminster respectively, were CPS retail stores. The Wainwright and Sedgewick sites, about 100 km and 175 km southwest of Lloydminster respectively, had belonged to the 18-store Andrukow chain.

The consent agreement with the Competition Bureau had called for CPS to use “commercially reasonable efforts” to close deals for the four sites within an agreed-upon time frame, or the bureau would send in a trustee to do so.

The agreement with the bureau also blocks CPS from buying similar types of ag retail and/or fertilizer assets in the Andrukow chain’s catchment area for three years — and from buying back the four divested sites for 10 years.

“Expansion into this geography and working with the experienced staff at these four new locations will be a great opportunity,” Justin Watson, P+H’s national director for crop nutrients, said Monday.

Financial terms of P+H’s deal with CPS weren’t disclosed in Monday’s release. The deal is expected to close Feb. 2.

Watson noted P+H has been “aggressively expanding its footprint” in the crop input business, putting up fertilizer plants, chemical sheds and seed facilities at its grain elevator locations.

The four retail stores being sold “have strong staff who are dedicated to serving their customers,” P+H said, adding it “look(s) forward to welcoming them into the P+H family.”

The sale clears Andrukow’s retail sites at Amisk, Camrose, Clyde‑Flatlander, Daysland, Dewberry, Fort Saskatchewan, Mundare, Paradise Valley, Provost, Rycroft, Ryley, St. Paul, Strathmore, Viking and Waskatenau, Alta. and at Marsden, Sask. to join the CPS chain. — AGCanada.com Network

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