The Chinese COFCO already have 10% of the grain shipments

April 9, 2014
Beating BUNGE and DREYFUS are now positioned after CARGILL
COFCO bought Nidera and Noble and now ranks second among exporters.

Cargill, Bunge and Dreyfus are known names in the economic dictionary of Argentina: from decades these companies dominate the biggest business in the country, its agricultural exports. From now on will have to add another name to the list of large exporters. This is Cofco, the Chinese state-owned whiich, thanks to its recent acquisitions, already controls more than 10% of shipments, and a bit of the vegoil industry.

COFCO is one of 53 state companies that responds directly to the communist government in Beijing. With 120,000 employees in China alone, between 1952 and 1987, was in charge of all food related imports made in the country, as from then adopted a much more aggressive business attitude. This is its big breakout year since purchased 51% of the shares of two global business groups dedicated to commodities. In February was the Dutch Nidera and a few days ago it was the turn of Noble Group, based in Hong Kong. The two companies that became directly controled by the Chinese have strong interests in Argentina .

Nidera is the best known locally, because its products reach the retail public. But their great business since 1920 is basically the trade of grains and agricultural byproducts. In 2013 ranked eighth in the ranking of exporters, with 4.9% of total shipments, by volume. From its port in San Martín, north of Rosario, came out almost 3.5 million tonnes.

Noble Argentina is a step above: in seventh place, with almost 4 million tons or 5.4% of the volume shipped last year. The group also specializes in energy and minerals, arrived in the country in 2001 and has its facilities in Timbúes, a few miles from the Nidera.

If the export business of both companies are added together the immediate conclusion is that more than 10% of Argentine agricultural shipments (with China as the main destination) were fixed by firms controlled by the Chinese themselves. Although Cofco group promised to respect the identity and autonomy of the companies acquired, its accumulated participation is sufficient to locate them second in the ranking of agricultural exporters, behind Cargill (which holds 15.5% of shipments) but above Bunge (almost 10%).

The specialized site Valor Soja performed the same exercise by adding the Nidera and Noble installed capacity in the country. “Cofco will become part of the club of the 8 operators that together concentrates 89% of the local vegoil processing capacity” reported. By the way, now dominates three facilities with capacity to grind 20,400 tons daily of soy, about 10% of the national capacity, reaching 206,281 tonnes per day.

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