Fitzgibbon hints GrainCorp support

Agriculture minister indicates support for controversial ADM bid.

The federal government is seen as increasingly likely to approve a bid by agribusiness giant Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) to buy Australia's largest agriculture company GrainCorp Ltd, according to The Australian.

Agriculture Minister Joel Fitzgibbon reportedly told a national grains industry conference in Melbourne that he supports a free market and foreign investment in Australian agriculture.

The takeover offer will be decided by the Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB) and Treasurer Chris Bowen.

However, Mr Fizgibbon's opinion is an influential one given his portfolio.

“I am a believe in competition, in the market, and that we should embrace foreign investment,” Mr Fitzgibbon said, according to The Australian.

“That might give you some hint of my initial views on this issue; be discerning and choosy but do not fear foreign investment – it represents an enormous opportunity for us and we cannot hope to be the main provider of food for the growing middle classes of Asia without it.”

ADM's $3.4 billion offer for GrainCorp has attracted much controversy, with growers in particular expressing concerns about the impact a GrainCorp sale would have on them.