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  • By Lynda Kiernan-Stone, Global AgInvesting Media

China’s COFCO Acquires Remainder of Nidera

China’s COFCO International Ltd. announced it has agreed to acquire the remaining 49% stake it does not already own in the Dutch grain trading firm, Nidera, from Cygne BV, bringing its ownership of Nidera to 100%.

The deal, which is scheduled to close in the fourth quarter of this year, is a significant move by COFCO under its strategic plan to organize its global agri-business into a leading commodity platform equal to the top four ABCD companies of Archer Daniels Midland (ADM), Bunge, Cargill, and Louis Dreyfus.

“This acquisition represents an important accomplishment for COFCO International as we continue to realize our vision of building a world-class global agri-business,” said Patrick Yu, the President of COFCO, Chairman of COFCO International and Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Nidera in a recent statement.

Earlier this year COFCO announced the successful completion of the acquisition of the remaining 49% it did not own in Noble Agri for $750 million and the creation of COFCO Agri Ltd – a new entity that encompasses 45 asset locations across 29 countries with the handling capacity of 47 million tons of product.

Now, with the total acquisition of both companies, COFCO plans to integrate the separate operations, giving the group the ability to leverage COFCO Agri’s asset base with Nidera’s origination and trading network capabilities. The integration plan, which will establish COFCO’s flagship global agribusiness platform, will be led by Matt Jansen, who has been CEO of both COFCO International and COFCO Agri since March 2016.

“In this instance, we are going beyond incremental improvements,” said Jansen, adding, “…this is a transformative deal that will help us evolve and thrive over the long-term. Our combination enlarges the playing field and opens up new opportunities that were previously closed to us as separate companies.”

North American Expansion

Despite market conditions that currently offer little opportunity for growth, Jansen notes COFCO’s intention to expand its footprint into its singular lacking region–North American grain origination–

as it strives to achieve a truly global presence. Toward this end, the group announced in May the establishment of a U.S. ethanol trading desk and the appointment of former Louis Dreyfus ethanol trader, Aaron Parrish.

One month later, COFCO announced the continuation of its aggressive push into the North American market with the opening of its first trade office in Canada in the center of the country’s grain region in Winnipeg.

In support of the group’s expansion into Western Canada’s grain space, the company is hiring three traders and an operations manager to oversee the growth of the group’s domestic and export trading activities.

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