COFCO, the almost-billionaire in EUR

Until 2017, the company now called COFCO International România SRL was called Nidera România SRL. But one year before, the grain trader Nidera, owned by a Dutch family, became 100% the property of COFCO (prior, COFCO had bought 51% of Nidera for an amount estimated by the analysist for USD 2.4 billion). COFCO is the largest grain trader in China and one of the most active world players on this market during the last years.

COFCO expansion policy may be seen ongoing also in Romania, through COFCO International România SRL. The Romanian company is owned by CIL Agri Enterprises BV (former Nidera Agri Enterprises BV) & Concordia Trading BV – both subsidiaries of COFCO, the Chinese mother-company. During the last published fiscal year, 2018, the COFCO International România SRL revenue was RON 3.9 billion (meaning approximately EUR 900 million). But the net profit was a thousand times lower: RON 3.9 million (approximately EUR 900,000). The number of employees officially stated is 75.

As the grain market needs access to the most efficient means of transportation, the one by sea, the transaction between COFCO and Nidera was very useful for the Chinese also because it came together with a harbor operator in Constanța. Therefore, COFCO International România SRL and COFCO International Netherlands BV hold total ownership over the harbor operator from Constanta, United Shipping Agency SRL, a company previously held by Nidera.

COFCO has huge grain storage capacity in the port of Constanta. Source: stiriagricole.ro

In 2018, the revenue of United Shipping Agency SRL amounted to RON 61.5 million (approx. EUR 12.5 million) and the net profit is over RON 10 million (over EUR 2.2 million) with 210 employees. According to local media, the harbor operator “holds storage capacities for grain of approx. 250,000 tons”. But Ziarul Financiar mentions a storage capacity of “only” 228,000 tons. Even so, United Shipping Agency SRL is the most important harbor operator in Constanța in this regard.

COFCO also (informally) got the control of the fluvial harbor operator SCAEP Giurgiu Port SA. According to the presentation on their own website, the river harbor operator ensures “services in harbors: Oltenița, Giurgiu, Zimnicea, Turnu Măgurele, Corabia and Bechet” and “has harbor platforms, warehouses for storing merchandise, as well as silos for storing grains”.

How does COFCO International România SRL controls this fluvial harbor operator? With a loan of EUR 180,000 awarded in 2018, guaranteed by SCAEP Giurgiu Port SA with the Traian pusher boat, property of the harbor operator. According to a mention from the “Official Gazette”, “The loan is necessary to improve activities in the grain silos from the Company’s work points situated in Zimnicea harbor (increase of the grain acceptance capacity and delivery to barges from 80 t/h to 200 t/h)”.

 

Read more about the Chinese companies in:

Ukraine

Moldova

Bulgaria