Business / Companies

COFCO buys 51% of Dutch grain trader

By Zhong Nan (China Daily) Updated: 2014-03-01 10:25

Holding a stake in the Dutch company will help COFCO gain direct access to buy oilseed, corn, soybeans and edible oils in South America and further ensure the grain security of the world's most populous country.

"This deal will generate great growth opportunities. The Chinese and Asian markets are of great importance to Nidera," said Ton van der Laan, chief executive officer of the Dutch company.

"We were looking for a strong partner to jointly invest in future growth. Strategic partnership with COFCO is an ideal choice for Nidera and will benefit both sides."

Ning Gaoning, chairman of COFCO, said investing in Nidera is "in line with COFCO's strategy to become a global player in the agricultural industry with a fully integrated value chain. It represents a significant step toward COFCO's global expansion".

Both parties will work together to obtain regulatory approvals and they will make joint plans for post-closing integration.

Under the agreement, the existing shareholders of Nidera will all retain equity stakes in the company. The current leadership and management of Nidera will stay to secure a smooth integration and successful partnership.

"Because of limits on land purchases in countries such as Brazil and Zambia, which have ownership restrictions for foreign companies, COFCO has been focusing on non-grain investment abroad in recent years," said Ding Lixin, a researcher at the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences in Beijing.

"This is COFCO's largest stake purchase over the past five years," Ding said.

COFCO took control of Australian sugar producer Tully Sugar Ltd in 2011, but it lost a bid for Proserpine Cooperative Sugar Milling Association, another Australian company, in the same year. In the wine sector, the company bought Chateau Viaud in Bordeaux, France, in 2011 after a previous purchase in Chile.

To seek more market growth points, the Chinese company has also diversified its business scope into the fields of pig breeding, soybean crushing, edible oil and confectioneries.

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