Sumitomo Takes Full Control of Australian Grain Exporter Emerald

Sumitomo Corp. agreed to buy Emerald Agribusiness Group Pty, gaining full control of the Australian company’s storage facilities and an export terminal in Victoria state as it seeks to expand its global grain business.

Japan’s fourth-biggest trading company took its stake in Emerald’s parent company to 100 percent from 50 percent in the deal, Tokyo-based Sumitomo said today in a statement without disclosing the value of the transaction.

The agreement is the latest sign of overseas interest in agricultural assets in Australia, the fourth-largest wheat exporter and third-biggest shipper of sugar and beef, as increasing incomes and population boost demand for food. Australia last year blocked Archer-Daniels-Midland Co.’s takeover of GrainCorp Ltd., eastern Australia’s largest grain handler after approving Saputo Inc.’s purchase of the country’s oldest dairy processor.

The Foreign Investment Review Board and the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission advised they won’t be examining the Sumitomo deal further, Emerald said.

“As a 100 percent subsidiary of Sumitomo Corporation the company will be able to fund future growth and expansion and compete more effectively in an Australian and Asian grain market that is now heavily influenced by global companies,” Emerald Grain Pty Chairman Alan Winney said in a separate statement. Winney will step down from his role when the sale is complete, while Chief Executive Officer John Murray will continue, it said.

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