Senate inquiry investigating grain industry may target ADM

A SENATE inquiry into the operations of Australia's grain handling industry may target the US company which plans to take over Graincorp.

The inquiry - to investigate grain handling, including market access, trader access to infrastructure - was launched in the Senate on Thursday unopposed.

It comes after US oilseeds giant Archer Daniels Midlands prepares to take over the biggest remaining Australia-owned grain handling business, Graincorp.

The proposed takeover is subject to approval by the Foreign Investment Review Board, which is also involved in an on-going Senate inquiry into foreign investment.

In a recent market announcement, ADM also revealed it had set aside $25 million, in order to pay fines likely to be imposed by the US market regulator.

It is understood the fines related to charges several years ago that ADM employees had engaged in bribing foreign officials.

While not directly targeting Graincorp, or its potential new owners, the Senate inquiry will also look into any other related matters, a timely issue given the takeover.

The inquiry will also investigate any "potential for conflict" between the responsibility of grain handling companies to their shareholders and the best interests of Australian producers and consumers.

A report is due back from the Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport References Committee on its inquiry by July 31 this year.



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