COFCO Continues Aggressive North American Push with Winnipeg Trade Office
China’s state-owned agricultural trader, COFCO Agri is continuing its aggressive push into the North American market with the opening of its first trade office in Canada in the center of the country’s grain region in Winnipeg, reports Reuters. Other major grain traders that currently have head offices in Winnipeg include Cargill, Richardson International, Paterson Grain, and Parrish and Heimbecker.
In support of the group’s expansion into Western Canada’s grain space, the company is hiring three traders and an operations manager to oversee the growth of the group’s domestic and export trading activities.
The announcement comes only week after the group announced it was establishing an ethanol trading desk in the U.S. as part of its strategic plan to expand into the U.S. market. The move is being seen as a means of entry to trade between the top two ethanol producers in the world – the U.S. and Brazil, as well as a way to meet growing demand from China.
After an aggressive strategic campaign aimed at global expansion, and with sales totaling $16.9 billion, COFCO has confirmed it is currently pursuing deals that will gain it a presence in North America.
“Most of the other companies are western companies looking east, trying to participate in China,” COFCO CEO, Matt Jansen told Reuters. “On our side, we are China at the origin, from the roots.”
In a recent interview with Financial Times, Jansen explained that COFCO is indeed a company focused on becoming an “investment grade” operation in search of returns prior to going public in the medium term.
Indeed, despite market conditions that currently offer little opportunity for growth, Jansen notes COFCO’s intention to expand its footprint into its singular lacking region – North American grain origination – as it strives to achieve a truly global presence. The group’s powerful shareholders including state-owned enterprise, Tomasek, COFCO itself, Standard Charter, Hopu, and CIC have made it known that they are awaiting the right merger and acquisition targets to be presented for consideration.
Click here to watch Matt Jansen's interview with Financial Times.