Grain Commission suspends ILTA Grain’s licenses

Farmers owed money for grain delivered to ILTA Grain Inc. should call the Canadian Grain Commission (CGC).

The CGC on Thursday suspended the Surrey, B.C.-based company’s grain dealer’s license and its primary grain elevator licenses for elevators at Belle Plaine and Saskatoon, Sask., Remi Gosselin, the CGC’s manager of corporate information services, said in an interview the same day.

“If you’re owed money by this company, contact us immediately,” he said. The CGC can be reached by phone at 1-800-853-6705 or by email.

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The firm providing ILTA with security to cover farmer liabilities terminated its coverage Wednesday, Gosselin said.

“If you do business with this company after July 10, 2019, you will not be protected by security under the Canada Grain Act,” the CGC’s website warns.

ILTA Grain, operating since 2011 primarily in pulse crops, was granted creditor protection Monday by British Columbia’s Supreme Court as it tries to restructure.

“The decision to file for (creditor protection) was made after careful consideration and in our view, is a necessary step for the company to address its financial structure, protect all stakeholders and secure additional financing to fund the continued development of our business,” ILTA CEO Dan Burneski said in a letter to grain suppliers dated July 9.

An affidavit filed July 7 noted “increasingly challenging international trade conditions” in recent years affecting ILTA’s business in export markets including India, China and Saudi Arabia.

Current management will continue to operate the business and will lead the restructuring process, the company said.

According to Pricewaterhouse Coopers Inc. (PwC), the court-appointed monitor, ILTA will seek court approval Friday for interim financing and for authorization to start a sales process for its assets and operations.

All balances outstanding prior to Monday’s filing date are stayed and will not be paid by the company, according to Burneski’s letter.

However, that doesn’t apply to security posted with the CGC to cover what’s owed to farmers for delivered grain they haven’t been paid for.

The question is: Was enough security posted to cover what farmers are owed? The CGC is investigating that now, Gosselin said.

The affidavit lists HSBC Bank Canada, Export Development Canada and Farm Credit Canada as secured creditors. ILTA’s unsecured creditor list as of Thursday lists over $15 million in claims from farmers, largely in Saskatchewan, and various companies across Canada and the U.S.

ILTA was formed in Surrey in 2011 by former managers of specialty crop export firm Finora, after that company’s owner, Noble Group, sold Finora and its four plants in Saskatchewan and Alberta to AGT in 2009.

ILTA’s other Saskatchewan facilities today include sites at Swift Current, Cut Knife and North Battleford, which is also the site of the company’s processing head office.

ILTA previously had an edible bean processing plant at Bloom, Man., near Portage la Prairie, and a satellite receiving operation at Miami, Man., but sold both in January to Ontario-based Hensall District Co-operative.

— Allan Dawson is a reporter for the Manitoba Co-operator at Miami, Man. Includes files from MarketsFarm and Glacier FarmMedia Network staff.

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