China’s biggest grains trader COFCO Corp is in talks to buy Noble Group Ltd‘s agribusiness arm in a deal that would value the division at around $1 billion, Reuters reported Tuesday [4 March 2014], citing people familiar with the matter. Acquiring the Noble unit would help China develop a powerful agricultural trading house, an entity the country has lacked. Chinese trading firm Unipec is already one of the world’s biggest crude oil buyers…Full Article: The Global Times Mar 2014

Key point

  • The agribusiness division of Noble trades in grains, oilseeds, sugar, cocoa, cotton, and coffee, but this business only accounts for 16% of the company’s 2013 revenue (US$15.5 billion), while 14% of the Singapore-listed company itself is owned by the China Investment Corporation

ChinaAg Comments

  • In November 2012, COFCO announced that for the next four years it had approximately US$10 billion to fund overseas mergers and acquisitions
  • In March 2013, COFCO announced that it received $4.82 billion in loans from the China Development Bank in order to stabilize food prices and improve productivity
  • In February 2014, COFCO purchased a 51% stake (estimated at US$1.2 billion) in Nidera, a Dutch grain trading company

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