Global Food: China’s Cofco says Australia crucial for growth

Damon Kitney, Victorian Business Editor – The Australian April 22, 2016

China’s biggest food company says it views Australia as “an important region’’ for expansion as it manages its tough transformation from a Chinese state-owned enterprise to a genuine multinational corporation.

Cofco president Patrick Yu told The Australian and Visy’s Global Food Forum in Melbourne that Australia was “a crucial area for Cofco’s global operations”.

“Cofco sees Australia as a place where it could complete its coming overseas layout,” Mr Yu said.

In 2014 Cofco made its biggest steps on to the global stage with a $US2.7 billion deal to acquire Dutch grain trader Nidera and 51 per cent of Noble Group’s agriculture unit.

These operations in Australia have been renamed Cofco Agri Australia.

In 2011 Cofco paid $145 million for Tully Sugar in Queensland, which supplies 10 per cent of Australia’s annual sugar crush.

Co-head of Cofco Agri Australia Bruce Li told the forum that Cofco had worked on upgrading the Tully facilities and technology and its relationships with growers.

“It’s a really good, healthy business now, so it’s very (pleasing) to get a result here with the help of the industry,’’ he said.

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