15 March 2016
Clifford Chance advises COFCO on successful completion of two key transactions
Leading international law firm Clifford Chance has advised COFCO International Limited, a subsidiary of COFCO Corporation, on the successful closing of its acquisition (including through its affiliates) of the remaining 49% stake in global agricultural trading and processing platform Noble Agri Limited from Singapore-listed Noble Group Limited for US$750 million. Following the closing of the acquisition, Noble Agri Limited will be renamed as COFCO Agri Ltd. and will serve as the principal international origination platform for COFCO group.
The team advising COFCO was led by Beijing based partner Terence Foo and assisted by consultants Christina Hui and Kathryn Sanger, along with senior associate Janet Irvine and associate Angel Yao in Hong Kong, and partner Raymond Tong and associate Seow Tzi-Yang in Singapore. The IP aspects of the matter were handled by partner Ling Ho in Hong Kong, with partner Richard Blewett and counsel Bai Yong in Beijing and counsel Amelia Horvath in Sydney providing anti-trust advice.
Terence also advised COFCO on its strategic partnership with a consortium of investors in providing equity funding for the acquisition of the remaining 49% stake of Noble Agri Limited from Noble Group. The consortium, which was led by a group of international financial investors, will hold a minority interest in an affiliate of COFCO International Limited that acquired the 49% stake in Noble Agri Limited. For the equity funding, Terence was supported by senior associates Janet Jiang and Menghan Wang, associate Kenny Yu and trainee Stacey Shen in Beijing.
Partner Anthony Wang and associate James Tong in Hong Kong advised COFCO on the debt financing which was provided by a syndicate of banks.
Terence said, "Having advised COFCO on the original acquisition of 51% of Noble Agri Limited in 2014, we are pleased to have assisted COFCO and its affiliates and consortium members achieve the goal of 100% ownership of Noble Agri Limited. This acquisition will significantly strengthen COFCO's international platform."
COFCO Corporation is a leading supplier of agri-products, diversified foodstuffs and services in China, integrating agri-trading, logistics, processing, production and sale links. COFCO builds a worldwide fully-integrated value chain covering all links from the farmland to the dining table. With its good business performance, COFCO has consecutively been ranked among the world's Fortune 500 companies, and tops the list of Top 100 companies of China’s food industry.