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COFCO acquires outstanding Nidera shares

The Chinese state-owned company plans to merge its subsidiaries into a global agri platform, the latest move in a wave of global agri corporate consolidation.

COFCO International has acquired Cygne’s 49 percent stake in Dutch agribusiness Nidera, bringing the company under full ownership after first acquiring a 51 percent stake in Nidera two years ago.

The Chinese state-owned grain trader has been extending its reach in the global agribusiness markets through acquisitions and expansion as competitors like Monsanto, DuPont and Bayer have also moved towards consolidation.

COFCO and private equity firm Hopu acquired full ownership of food commodities processor and trader Noble Agri in March this year. After the acquired company re-branded COFCO Agri, it took steps to increase its North American presence, opening its first Canadian office in June.

COFCO International plans to integrate Nidera and COFCO Agri operations into COFCO’s global flagship programme once the deal closes — likely in the fourth quarter of this year. COFCO International chief executive Matt Jansen will lead the integration.

“This is a transformative deal that will help us evolve and thrive over the long-term,” said Jansen in a statement, adding that the deal will significantly accelerate the company’s global presence in the food and agricultural industries.

COFCO International first acquired a 51 percent stake in Nidera in 2014, the same year it acquired its initial 51 percent stake in Noble Agri alongside a consortium of investors led by Hopu. COFCO planned to merge its two agribusiness subsidiaries but the plans fell apart due to challenging market conditions and a fraud case involving what Nidera described as a “rogue trader”.