Canada’s largest barley malting company, Canada Malting, will soon be under new ownership. The Australian bulk-grain handling firm known as GrainCorp is buying Canada Malting and three sister companies. The four malting companies are under the umbrella of United Malt. In addition to Canada Malting, this includes Great Western Malting in the United States, Barrett Burston Malting in Australia and Bairds Malt in the United Kingdom. As for Canada Malting, it has malt houses in Calgary, Thunder Bay and Montreal. The current owners of the four companies under United Malt are Castle Harlan Inc., a New York private equity investment firm, and CHAMP Private Equity, its affiliate based in Sydney, Australia. Up until 2006, the businesses were owned by ConAgra Foods Inc. of the United States and Tiger Brands of South Africa. According to published reports, GrainCorp is paying just under $700 million to acquire United Malt. The deal should be complete by late November. In the world of big business, it’s often difficult to keep track of who owns what. Whether Canadian malting barley growers will see much difference from the change in ownership remains to be seen. I’m Kevin Hursh.