GRAIN traders, it seems, like each other’s company. Not since the merger of Cargill and Continental in 1998 have we seen so much talk of lying down together.
Glencore is talking to Viterra (a potential $6bn purchase). George Soros and others have put Gavillon up for sale for offers over $5bn and it seems Singapore’s Wilmar and Japan’s Mitsui may have the appetite for a healthy meal.
Big grain players such as ADM, Bunge, Cargill and Louis Dreyfus have enjoyed rising profits for the last 4 years, sparking the latest round of takeover talks. GrainCorp of Australia is regarded by many in the industry as a potential target, particularly since deregulation of the Australian wheat market. Ditto Nidera, with good coverage in Latin America and the Black Sea region, and Toepfer International (although with 80% holding an 80% majority stake, a sale seems unlikely).
Less likely to sell are the farming co-operatives such as CHS Inc and CBH Group. And fair game for you and me could be Noble Agri Ltd, a spin-off from Noble Group which may yet re-apply to float the company at a value of around $5bn.