ADM increases stake in Wilmar

Chicago | Reuters — U.S. grains trader Archer Daniels Midland has increased its stake in Wilmar International of Singapore, in its latest bid to expand in Asia.

ADM’s purchases represented about 22 per cent of Wilmar shares traded on Singapore’s exchange on Tuesday, Wilmar said in a regulatory filing. Wilmar shares reached their highest price since Aug. 6, and its stock ended up 8.9 per cent at 3.17 Singapore dollars (C$2.96).

ADM declined to say how many shares it had purchased or disclose the size of its expanded stake. ADM owned 17.3 per cent of Wilmar in February, according to U.S. regulatory documents.

The purchases were “opportunistic with respect to share price” and foreign exchange rates, an ADM spokesman said.

Wilmar bills itself as the world’s biggest palm and lauric oil processor, the biggest supplier of edible oils in Africa, one of the biggest oilseed crushers and edible oil refiners in China, and one of Ukraine’s biggest edible oil refiners.

ADM has focused on expanding its dealings in Asia to take advantage of the region’s growing middle-class population. CEO Juan Luciano sits on Wilmar’s board and in March, ADM put its chief financial officer in charge of business in Asia to accelerate the company’s strategy.

In 2013, ADM failed in a A$2.8 billion (C$2.6 billion) bid to acquire Australian grain handler Graincorp, a deal that would have improved its access to Asian markets. ADM still owns about 20 per cent of Graincorp.

Tom Polansek reports on ag commodity markets for Reuters from Chicago. Includes files from AGCanada.com Network staff.

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