Chinese PE group joins Noble Agri JV

State-backed private equity firm Hopu Investments will co-invest into Noble Agri alongside Cofco Corp in the creation of a new vertically integrated agribusiness joint venture.

Hopu Investment Management, the Chinese private equity firm, established a consortium of investors to co-invest alongside Cofco Corp, the Chinese agriculture and food supplier, into Noble Agri, the agriculture platform.

Noble Group,  Hong Kong’s global supply chain manager of agricultural and energy products, metals and mining, will retain 49 percent. Hopu’s consortium, including the firm’s HOPU USD Master Fund II, will own 17 percent of the newly-established joint venture while Cofco will own the remaining 34 percent, according to a joint statement issued by Noble and Cofco yesterday.

The joint venture will help to create a vertically integrated value chain as Noble Agri will now become the principal international origination platform for Cofco alongside its own downstream processing and distribution capabilities.

Hopu Investments recently closed Fund II on $1.1 billion, according to the press release. It raised $2.5 billion for  Fund I in 2008. The funds focus on consumer, natural resources and financial services. It has “developed strong relationship with sovereign wealth funds and institutional investors from APAC, Americas, Europe and Middle East”, according to the release.

The firm could not be reached for comment.

Cofco’s chairman Frank Ning will be chairman of Noble Agri and Noble Group’s chairman and founder will be deputy chairman. Yusef Alireza, chief executive of Noble Group will be the interim chief executive of Noble Agri and will work closely with the existing leadership of Noble Agri, according to a press release.

“Noble Agri’s supply chain management system and origination capabilities complement COFCO’s logistics, processing, and distribution network in China. Incremental trade volumes from COFCO as a strategic investor will create significant synergy and value,” said Ning.

The deal will take several months to complete.


and Noble Group’s newly-formed joint venture Noble Agri.

The agribusiness JV will be 51 percent owned by COFCO