| BEIJING/LONDON, March 3
BEIJING/LONDON, March 3 COFCO Agri, the
Swiss-based international grain arm of China's state run COFCO
group, is bringing over up to 20 staff, including traders, to
boost operations in Europe in a further shake-up of the
business, sources familiar with the matter said.
COFCO has embarked on an expansion into
international grain trading, having invested over $3 billion to
buy Noble Group's agribusiness and also Dutch grain
trader Nidera, giving it assets in some of the world's top grain
and vegetable oil producing regions.
Sources said COFCO Agri is planning to bring between 10 to
20 specialists – some of them senior traders – from other parts
of the world, but primarily China, to work mainly in their Swiss
office, pending work visas being approved.
The sources said these included Fan Zhenyu, head of corn
trading at COFCO, as well as Sara Pan, who is currently deputy
general manager of COFCO's wheat division. It was unclear
whether another senior corn trader, Philip Xu, would join
Nidera’s office in Rotterdam.
COFCO did not respond to requests for comment, a COFCO Agri
spokesman said the company had no comment. Fan separately
declined to comment, while Xu and Pan could not be reached for
Sources said the idea was part of the integration of COFCO’s
global business enabling many of their China-based team to get
more exposure to the international business.
In January, an internal memo and sources said COFCO Agri had
appointed senior new management, which followed the announcement
earlier that month that its chief executive, Matt Jansen, had
Since first investing in Nidera in 2014, COFCO has had
COFCO group said this week it had completed the takeover of
Nidera and Dierk Overheu will step down from his position as CEO
of Nidera as the deal closes. COFCO International CEO Johnny Chi
will lead the merged companies.
In recent weeks, Nidera hired former veteran traders who had
worked in the past for Toepfer to take senior roles. Toepfer was
integrated into agribusiness group Archer Daniels Midland Co
Global commodities traders have had a difficult year, with
bumper crops in major growing nations such as the United States,
pressuring prices of corn and soybeans and intensifying
competition among merchants – all of whom are looking for a way
to boost profitability.
(Additional reporting by Gus Trompiz in Paris; Editing by
Veronica Brown and Susan Thomas)