Friday, March 7, 2014

China's Biggest State-owned Grain Trader Buying Grain Traders

From Merco Press:
China buys majority stake in Nidera as part of its investment in food assets
 China's State-owned Chinese food giant Cofco Corp. on Friday announced it was buying a 51% stake in closely held grains trader Nidera NV. By investing in Dutch Nidera, Cofco--China's largest stated-owned grain trader-- would have greater control over pricing as well as better access to major grain-growing regions, such as Latin America and Russia.
 China is already a huge importer of soybeans from Argentina and Brazil, and has been investing more in agriculture in Eastern Europe. Nidera trades agricultural commodities, including grains and soybeans.

China has spent billions of dollars in the past decade acquiring commodities assets in metals and energy, but it has stepped up investing in food assets overseas in recent years, buying farmland in Latin America.

Growing wealth in China is prompting increased demand for food resources. In 2011, China became a net importer of rice, and the gap between exports and imports has been widening in recent years. Chinese imports of soybeans overtook domestic production in 2004. The country also imported record volumes of corn in December, mostly from the U.S., with most of that going toward feed for animals.

Nidera chief executive officer Ton van der Laan said the company had been looking for a strong partner in China and the rest of Asia to help it expand....MORE
And from the South China Morning Post:

Grain trader Cofco in talks to buy agribusiness unit of Nobel
China's biggest grains trader, Cofco, is in talks to buy Noble Group's agribusiness arm in a deal that would value the division at around US$1 billion, sources said.

Acquiring the Noble unit would help China develop a powerful agricultural trading house, something it lacks.
State-backed Cofco, which last week agreed to buy a 51 per cent stake in Dutch grain trader Nidera, was conducting due diligence on the Noble unit, the sources said.

The precise stage of the talks was not clear, they said, cautioning that a deal for the unit, which trades and processes grains, may not materialise.

Noble said it was engaged in discussions with a consortium over a potential joint venture around its agriculture business, but no binding arrangements had been entered into. It did not identify Cofco as part of the consortium.
A Cofco spokesman said he was not aware of talks with Noble.
An acquisition push by Cofco comes after a wave of consolidation in the global agribusiness sector - including deals by Japanese firms to snap up rivals - that largely passed China by.

The Nidera acquisition was Cofco's first major overseas purchase of a trading house and signals China's ambition to create a global trading company along the lines of Japan- ese, European and US trading giants.

Last year, Japanese trading house Marubeni agreed to pay US$5.6 billion for US grain merchant Gavilon while Anglo-Swiss Glencore bought Viterra, Canada's largest grain handler, for US$6 billion in 2012....MORE