November 6, 2017 / 7:37 AM / a year ago

China's Cofco International sells Nidera seeds business to Syngenta

BEIJING, Nov 6 (Reuters) - Chinese grains trader COFCO International has agreed to sell the seeds business of Dutch subsidiary Nidera BV to Chinese-owned global crop chemicals firm Syngenta AG, the companies said on Monday.

Financial terms of the agreement, which is subject to regulatory clearances, were not disclosed.

State-owned COFCO's plan to sell Nidera's Latin American seeds business was reported by Reuters in August.

COFCO completed a full takeover of Nidera in February as part of a major expansion of its global grains trading business.

But losses racked up by Nidera, and accounting troubles unearthed last year in its Latin American operations helped persuade COFCO's management to look at ways to divest parts of the business, people familiar with the matter earlier told Reuters.

"This agreement is an important step of our strategy to focus on our major businesses," Johnny Chi, chief executive of COFCO International, said in a statement.

The deal is also part of an ongoing shake-up in the global seeds business. Syngenta was itself acquired this year by Chemchina, another state-owned Chinese firm. It has said it would pursue deals to become the third-biggest player in the seeds industry.

Nidera's seed business is concentrated in Argentina and Brazil, with a network in neighbouring countries, according to Cofco International's website. It focuses on corn, sunflowers, sorghum, soybeans and wheat.

Reporting by Dominique Patton in BEIJING and Gus Trompiz in PARIS; Editing by Kenneth Maxwell

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