February 27, 2014 / 8:46 AM / 4 years ago

China's COFCO in advanced talks for stake in Nidera -sources

SINGAPORE/HONG KONG, Feb 27 (Reuters) - COFCO Corp is in advanced talks to buy a stake in Dutch grain trader Nidera, at least two people familiar with the matter said on Thursday, in a move allowing China to take further steps in securing food supplies.

The precise stake and the amount that China’s largest state-owned grain trader was looking to pay for Nidera was not immediately clear.

One person with knowledge of the matter told Reuters that state-backed COFCO was willing to pay about $2 billion for majority control of the privately run company.

The Wall Street Journal said last month that COFCO was in talks to buy a minority stake in Nidera valued at around $250 million, citing a person familiar with the deal. The paper said it was not clear how much COFCO was offering to pay.

China is looking for new sources of food supplies to feed a rising shift in demand for high-protein products fuelled by growing incomes. COFCO’s purchase of a Nidera stake would give it direct access to South American soybean, corn and wheat supplies.

COFCO did not respond to calls and email seeking confirmation of the deal. Nidera did not immediately respond to a call seeking comment. (Reporting by Naveen Thakural and Denny Thomas; Additional reporting by Chris Stebbins in Chicago and Sara Webb in Amsterdam; Editing by Michael Flaherty and Himani Sarkar)

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