Cofco, China’s biggest foodstuff conglomerate, sold its Nidera Seeds, which operates in Latin America, to Syngenta, a leading Swiss agriculture company. Swiss seed and chemical company acquired earlier this year another Chinese state-backed enterprise, ChemChina.
COFCO International has entered into an agreement to sell its Nidera Seeds business to Syngenta. Completion of the transaction is subject to clearance by the relevant merger-control authorities.“This agreement is an important step of our strategy to focus on our major businesses,” said Johnny Chi, Chief Executive Officer of COFCO International. “Syngenta is well placed to provide Nidera Seeds a strong platform for further long-term growth, creating the best value for its customers, farmers, and employees.”
Terms of the deal were not disclosed. But Financial Times reported that the sale helps Cofco draw a line under the accounting issues it discovered since buying Nidera, the Dutch agricultural commodity trader. At the end of last year, it had discovered a $150m hole in the Dutch agricultural commodity trader’s accounts. The problems, stemming from Nidera’s Brazilian operations, followed losses caused by a rogue biofuels trader a year earlier. Losses racked up by Nidera, and accounting troubles exposed last year in its Latin American operations led to COFCO International wanting to divest parts of the business, according to Reuters.