16 March 2001

Nod for Banks merger

COMPETITION watchdogs in Brussels have given the go-ahead for merchants Banks Agriculture and Cargill to join forces.

"Although the operation will merge two significant players in UK merchanting, farmers across the UK will still have several merchants available locally to market their produce," said the commission.

There was particular concern that the deal could give the enlarged company excess control of the oilseeds sector, given Cargills crushing operations.

The commission estimates that, together, they will have access to up to 25% of oilseed rape in some regions.

But, after detailed investigation, Brussels found no reason to demand any foreclosures. &#42