Agricultural trading is consolidating further. Cofco, short for China National Cereals, Oils and Foodstuffs Corporation, now announced to have secured full ownership of Nidera BV, the Dutch grain dealer. Cofco already bought 51 per cent of Nidera two years ago and acquired now the remaining 49 per cent. In a similar move Cofco bought in March the remaining 49 per cent of Hong Kong’s Noble Group, paying $750m.
This places Cofco amongst the “big six” agricultural traders next to Archer Daniels Midland (ADM), Bunge, Cargill, Louis Dreyfus and Glencore.
Cofco was founded in 1952 and is one of China’s largest state owned enterprises. Until 1987, Cofco was China’s sole importer and exporter of agricultural products operating under direct control of the central government. Cofco is also involved in processing of agricultural goods like barley to malt. Cofco Malt has a combined annual malt capacity of 760,000tons placing it 8th among the largest commercial maltings worldwide.
Nidera posted for 2015 its first annual loss in five years. The company lost nearly $200 million over three years due to “severe” irregularities by a single trader in biofuels.