Report: COFCO looking to bolster its international agribusiness trading arm

By Jane Byrne contact

- Last updated on GMT

© GettyImages/JJ Gouin
© GettyImages/JJ Gouin

Related tags: China, Growmark, Cargill

China’s COFCO Corporation is reportedly set to combine its international agriculture trading business platform with several domestic entities to enable it to compete on a more equal footing with ag trading powerhouses: Cargill, Bunge, ADM, and Louis Dreyfus Co.

The group, China's largest food and agriculture company, has allegedly hired bankers to advise on a plan to integrate COFCO International Ltd (CIL) with some of its domestic trading and processing assets; it would then sell shares in the new, merged entity, according to anonymous sources cited in a Bloomberg article.

The listing would most likely be in Shanghai and could be worth more than US$5bn, as per that story​.

In 2018, CIL handled over 100 million tons of related commodities with revenues of US$31bn.

A spokesperson for the Geneva headquartered COFCO International declined to comment on the speculation.

Development of CIL as a trading powerhouse 

CIL is focused on being a leader player in the global grains, oilseeds and sugar supply chains. Today, its supply chain today spans six continents. with assets across the Americas, Europe and Asia Pacific. It trades with over 50 countries, while providing farmers direct access to the growing Chinese market.

CIL was formed by COFCO's acquisition and merger of Nidera and COFCO Agri in 2014. It bolstered its position further in the international grain market in 2015, taking on full ownership of the Noble Group’s agribusiness. An alliance in 2017 with US based Growmark gave CIL access to the growers of the largest grain exporting region in the US. 

While COFCO is the principal shareholder in CIL, the remaining are owned by five investors: Temasek, Standard Chartered bank, China Investment Corporation, Hopu Investment Management, and the International Finance Corporation (IFC) of the World Bank.

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