Russian State Grain Company to Buy Swiss Trader to Boost Exports
Russia’s state-controlled AO United Grain Co. plans to expand exports by acquiring a Swiss trader that can borrow in dollars.
The company will buy the currently dormant Lausanne-based Grainexport SA by the end of the year, helping to boost international sales to as much as 2 million metric tons a year, according to Marat Shaidayev, United Grain’s director general. That would rank the company among the biggest exporters of Russian grain, including Cargill Inc. and Olam International Ltd. Russia is the world’s biggest supplier of wheat.
United Grain shipped 331,000 tons abroad in the 2015-16 season ended in June and 888,000 tons in the prior period, according to data compiled by Moscow-based consultant OOO ProZerno. Russia is expected to export 28 million tons of wheat this season, the Agriculture Ministry said this month.
“We’ll complete building competitive operations,’’ Shaidayev said of the plans in an interview in Russia’s Black Sea resort of Sochi, without identifying the seller. “We’ll become more flexible on the international trading market.’’
Grainexport will be able to borrow in dollars to buy Russian grain for resale, he said. That will reduce currency risks for United Grain and put it in line with other traders of Russian supplies, Shaidayev said. A representative of the target company confirmed by phone that talks to sell to United Grain are underway, declining to elaborate.