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DUBAI, Dec 2 (Reuters) - Cargill Inc has hired Mumtaz Kazmi, previously the mergers and acquisitions head for Credit Suisse in the Middle East, to help the agribusiness firm expand in Asia, two banking sources aware of the matter said.
Cargill is one of the world's largest privately held corporations and a leading commodities trader. Like other large U.S.-based agribusiness companies, it has been stepping up acquisitions in resource-rich and fast-growing emerging markets in recent months, seeking to diversify away from the United States.
Kazmi, who worked at Credit Suisse for more than a decade before leaving the firm in late 2012, has been appointed as Cargill's strategy and business development manager for Asia Pacific, a role which includes leading M&A efforts for Cargill in the region, according to his LinkedIn profile.
He will be based in Singapore and his main focus will be to seek acquisitions in South-East Asia, the sources said on Monday.
Reuters could not reach Kazmi for a comment. Cargill did not immediately respond to requests seeking comment.
The Minneapolis-based company is in the final stages of a deal to buy Archer Daniels Midland Co's cocoa business, a deal which may be worth as much as $2 billion, Reuters reported in October, citing sources familiar with the matter.
Cargill expects its acquisition of Joe White Maltings in Australia to be completed by the end of the year, it said in October.
The commodity trader also purchased full ownership of the Prairie Malt joint venture in Saskatchewan and acquired a shrimp feed manufacturer in Thailand.
Kazmi led the regional M&A business for the Swiss bank in Dubai, advising on large cross-border transactions for large corporates and sovereign wealth funds such as Qatar Holding.
However, M&A activity in the Middle East slumped after the global financial crisis, forcing many senior bankers at global banks to move to large corporates, state entities or local banks in the region.
Peter Fort, previously the M&A head for Morgan Stanely Inc in the Middle East, left the firm last year and currently heads up Ras Al Khaimah Free Trade Zone Authority, a tax-free industrial zone in one of the seven emirates of the UAE.