Chinese grain trading firm COFCO Corporation reported last night Australian time that it had reached an agreement to take full ownership of Netherlands-based grain trader Nidera NV.
COFCO already owns 51pc stake in Nidera, and through this agreement COFCO International Ltd will acquire the remaining minority stake in Nidera Capital B.V. currently held by Cygne B.V., a company controlled by the families that founded Nidera.
That purchase, made in 2014 at a stated equity valuation of $2.4 billion, was reported by international business media at the time as a move by Beijing to gain sway over the world’s grain markets.
Overnight COFCO released a statement saying it had reached a “definitive agreement” to buy the 49pc stake it didn’t already own.
The deal is expected to completed in the fourth quarter, and remains subject to regulatory approvals.
A purchase price has not been disclosed.
“This transaction marks another significant milestone among COFCO’s initiatives to grow and consolidate its international agri-businesses into a world-class, integrated global platform,” COFCO said in a statement.
Dierk Overheu, CEO of Nidera, said: “We are excited to become an integral part of COFCO’s combined international agri-business platform. All of us at Nidera are delighted at what lies ahead and I look forward to contributing my knowledge and experience to assist COFCO in building a world-leading business.”
Matt Jansen, CEO of COFCO International, said: “Our combination enlarges the playing field and opens up new opportunities that were previously closed to us as separate companies, but that we can now pursue together. This significantly accelerates the progress we have made in building a global leader in the international agricultural and food products industries, while delivering sustainable growth and superior returns for our shareholders.”
By integrating Nidera into COFCO International, which includes the agricultural assets of Noble Agri Ltd (now known as COFCO Agri), the Chinese state-owned enterprise aims to create a global giant that can compete with companies including Archer-Daniels-Midland Co., Bunge Ltd., Cargill Inc., and Louis Dreyfus Co., known collectively as the ‘ABCDs, Bloomberg reported last night.
COFCO bought Noble Agri from Noble Group in two separate transactions beginning in 2014 for about $2.25 billion in total.
Nidera revealed in June that it lost nearly $200 million over three years due to what it called “severe” irregularities by a single trader in biofuels. Nidera was forced to take additional loans from shareholders to avoid breaching credit covenants, Bloomberg News reported in July.
President of COFCO and COFCO International and chair of the Supervisory Board of Nidera, Patrick Yu, said the company was committed to Nidera’s century-long business heritage and was confident in Nidera’s future prospects.
“We would like to thank our partners at Cygne for entrusting us to guide Nidera into a new era. We are confident that the transaction will pave the way for a successful integration and enhance the globalization initiatives underway at COFCO.”
COFCO said it is its intention to build an integrated global platform consisting of COFCO Agri and Nidera through COFCO International.
“It will leverage the combined capabilities of COFCO Agri’s highly strategic asset base and Nidera’s strong origination and trading networks, along with the unique advantages of Nidera’s seeds business.