(Recasts, adds quotes, details)
By Colin Packham
SYDNEY, March 27 A consortium of grain handlers
plans to build a new terminal at Port Kembla in Australia's New
South Wales state, signalling fresh competition for the region's
biggest listed agribusiness GrainCorp.
Logistics business Qube Holdings said it has formed
a joint venture with Noble Resources, a unit of Singapore's
Noble Group, to develop the multi-user handling
facility with capacity for more than 1.3 million tonnes of
export grain a year.
Cargill Group and Emerald Grain have been granted
the option to acquire up to a 20 percent stake each in the new
venture, Quattro Grain, which is expected to be operational by
late 2015 or early 2016.
The new terminal will put further pressure on GrainCorp and
its largest port, also based at Port Kembla, which has seen a
wave of new competition since the rejection of a A$2.8 billion
takeover bid for the company by U.S. agribusiness Archer Daniels
GrainCorp has seen increased competition for its port
business following the opening earlier this year of the
Newcastle Agri Terminal, backed by Western Australian bulk grain
handler CBH Group, Glencore Xstrata and Olam
In rejecting ADM's bid last November, the Australian
government cited a lack of competition along the country's east
"It is further evidence, if any was required, of the strong
competition for grain in eastern Australia," said Angus Trigg, a
spokesman for GrainCorp.
Qube said New South Wales Ports would extend and deepen the
berth at Port Kembla to accommodate Panamax vessels. The new
terminal was dependent on receiving all necessary
China's biggest grains trader COFCO Corp is in
talks to buy Noble Resources, Noble Group's agribusiness arm, in
a deal that would value the division at around $1 billion,
people familiar with the matter have told Reuters.
(Reporting by Colin Packham; Editing by Richard Pullin)