Agrium's $1.1B Bid For AWB Advances

SYDNEY (AP) -- Canadian fertilizer company Agrium has cleared a key regulatory hurdle in its $1.1 billion takeover bid for Australian grain producer AWB Ltd.

Agrium, one of the largest fertilizer makers in North America, told AWB its bid has received clearance from the Australian Foreign Investment Review Board, AWB said in a statement Monday.

"FIRB has notified Agrium that there are no objections to the proposed acquisition in terms of the Australian government's foreign investment policy," AWB said.

The deal still needs the approval of shareholders. AWB has recommended they accept the offer.

Agrium, based in Calgary, Alberta, said the 1.50 Australian dollar ($1.46) per share bid is a 37 percent premium to AWB's trading price on Aug. 13, before AWB agreed to a deal.

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