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August 25, 2016

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COFCO buys rest of commodity trader Nidera

CHINA’S state-owned grain giant COFCO will buy out minority shareholders in Netherlands-based commodity trader Nidera and take full ownership of the company, it said, as it seeks to become an agribusiness powerhouse.

COFCO’s deal to buy out the remaining 49 percent of Nidera, which trades grains and soybeans among other agricultural commodities, comes two years after it bought just over half of the company for US$1.2 billion.

It is the latest in several major overseas investments by Chinese firms seeking to meet rising demand for food and energy in the world’s second-largest economy.

The deal would give China greater control over pricing in the world’s grain markets, as well as better access to major grain-growing regions, such as Latin America and Russia.

Financial terms of the new COFCO-Nidera deal, which awaits regulatory approval, were not disclosed.

“This significantly accelerates the progress we have made in building a global leader in the international agricultural and food products industries,” Matt Jansen, CEO of COFCO International, said in the company notice late Tuesday.

Nidera’s strengths, including its seeds business and trading networks, will help the Chinese firm become “a global leader in the international agricultural and food products industries,” he said.

As China’s population grows wealthier, foreign products are widely seen by consumers as being safer and higher quality, in contrast to a litany of food safety scares in the Asian giant.The Chinese government has encouraged the nation’s companies to invest overseas to secure natural resources, open new markets and gain access to foreign technology, especially as economic growth has slowed at home. Chinese corporates have been on an overseas acquisition binge this year, as the weak global economy has presented new, attractive targets.

State-owned China National Chemical Corp in February offered US$43 billion for Swiss pesticide and seed giant Syngenta — the biggest overseas acquisition by a Chinese firm if completed.


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