Nidera Says Integration With Cofco, Noble Agri Put on Hold

  • Shareholders reached agreement on the integration in November
  • Cofco's takeover of Noble Agri doesn't affect Nidera: Ooms

Cofco Corp., China’s largest food company, Noble Agri Ltd. and Rotterdam-based Nidera BV suspended plans to create a global commodities-trading company by integrating operations, according to the Dutch firm.

Cofco, Nidera and Cygne, the minority shareholder of the Dutch grain trader, had reached an agreement on the plans in November, Bert Ooms, a spokesman for Nidera, said in an e-mailed statement Wednesday. The three companies had been planning to form a single trading company after Cofco acquired 51 percent of Nidera and Noble Agri last year.

“Nidera will continue to operate as a separate company within the Cofco group of companies,” Ooms said. “This enables Nidera to focus on its own business, to strengthen our organization and to prepare us for the future.”

Cofco had been trying to integrate the three operators with a view to sell shares in the new business to the public, Nidera Chief Executive Officer Ton van der Laan said in an interview earlier this year. Cofco Chairman Frank Ning said in 2014 that an initial public offering of some of the company’s assets would take about three years.

Challenging Period

The latest decision was made as Nidera faces a "challenging period" because of market conditions and a fraud case earlier this year, Ooms said in a separate e-mail. Van der Laan said in September that the trader suffered a “significant loss” in biofuels because of the actions of what he called a “rogue trader.”

The suspended plans may delay Cofco’s ambitions to become one of the world’s largest traders of agricultural commodities, challenging top companies such as Cargill Inc., Bunge Ltd., Archer-Daniels-Midland Co. and Louis Dreyfus Commodities BV.

Noble Group Ltd. sold its remaining 49 percent stake in Noble Agri to China’s Cofco for at least $750 million in cash, the Singapore-based trader said in a statement on Tuesday. Cofco’s takeover of Noble Agri doesn’t affect Nidera, Ooms said.

A spokesman for Noble Agri didn’t immediately return a call and e-mail seeking comment. Lian Xue, a spokeswoman for Cofco, didn’t respond to an e-mail.

(A previous version of this story corrected the date of the statement.)

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