CHICAGO, Oct 20 (Reuters) - U.S. grains trader Archer Daniels Midland Co has increased its stake in Wilmar International Ltd of Singapore in its latest bid to expand in Asia.
ADM's purchases represented about 22 percent of Wilmar shares traded on Singapore's exchange on Tuesday, Wilmar said in a regulatory filing. Wilmar shares reached their highest price since Aug. 6, and its stock ended up 8.9 percent at 3.17 Singapore dollars.
ADM declined to say how many shares it had purchased or disclose the size of its expanded stake. ADM owned 17.3 percent of Wilmar in February, according to U.S. regulatory documents.
The purchases were "opportunistic with respect to share price" and foreign exchange rates, an ADM spokesman said.
ADM has focused on expanding its dealings in Asia to take advantage of the region's growing middle-class population. Chief Executive Juan Luciano sits on Wilmar's board and in March, ADM put its chief financial officer in charge of business in Asia to accelerate the company's strategy.
In 2013, ADM failed in a A$2.8 billion ($2.18 billion) bid to acquire Australian grain handler Graincorp Ltd, a deal that would have improved its access to Asian markets. ADM still owns about 20 percent of Graincorp.
$1 = $1.39 Singapore dollars Reporting by Tom Polansek; Editing by David Gregorio