By Karl Plume
MINNEAPOLIS (Reuters) - Bunge has filed for regulatory approvals for its merger with crop handler Viterra in "major jurisdictions" in North and South America, Europe and China, and has gotten the green light from some of its smaller markets including Colombia, Chief Executive Officer Greg Heckman said on Thursday.
The merger, which would create a company worth $34 billion including debt, would bring the combined company closer in global scale to Bunge's leading rivals Archer-Daniels-Midland and Cargill.
The proposed combination with Glencore-backed Viterra, however, is attracting scrutiny from regulators concerned about consolidation in the agricultural sector.
Heckman told Reuters healthy commodities market competition in Canada, the United States, Brazil, Argentina, China and parts of Europe should allow Bunge to avoid having to sell assets to gain approval for the merger from antitrust authorities.
But if asset liquidations are required, Bunge believes demand for its assets is very strong, Heckman said at Reuters' Transform Food USA event in Minnesota.
"If we have to sell some assets, everybody has called to be on the list to buy them. We'll get a very fair price," he said.
Bunge expects to finalize the deal by mid-2024 after closing conditions are met and regulators sign off on the deal.
(Reporting by Karl Plume in Chicago; Editing by Paul Simao)