2017 World-Grain.com year in review

by World Grain Staff
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North America
A deadly explosion at a U.S. plant, a North American flour recall and talks surrounding major mergers and the launch of significant programs that could change industry operations highlighted an eventful year in the global grain industry during 2017.

The following highlights 10 of the top stories covered by the editors of World-Grain.com during 2017. 

Glencore, Bunge talks at standstill

Glencore plc in mid-October reached a standstill agreement that, at least in the short term, prevents it from making a hostile bid for Bunge Ltd., according to an article in the Wall Street Journal. Citing sources familiar with the situation, the WSJ indicated that the news raises the possibility that Glencore is planning to renew its effort to acquire Bunge.

Glencore, a Barr, Switzerland-based miner and commodities trader, made a takeover approach for White Plains, New York, U.S.-based Bunge in mid-May. At that time, Glencore called it an “informal approach,” and said that “discussion may or may not materialize and there is no certainty that any transaction will occur.”

Bunge, meanwhile, said that it was “not engaged in business combination discussions with Glencore Agriculture Limited or Glencore plc.” The company added that it was “committed to continuing to execute its global agri-foods strategy and pursuing opportunities for driving growth and value creation.” 

Deadly explosion rocks Didion Milling

Five employees died as a result of a May 31 explosion at Didion Milling Co.’s plant in Cambria, Wisconsin, U.S.

The explosion occurred in the corn mill, not the adjacent ethanol plant that Didion Milling also owns. The company restarted operations in August at the site’s ethanol plant.

In December, Didion said it was contesting $1.8 million in fines that were filed by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

COFCO acquires Nidera

Nidera is a major international agribusiness and trading company based in the Netherlands.

COFCO International on Feb. 28 completed the acquisition of the remaining shares in Nidera Capital B.V., giving COFCO full ownership of two global agribusinesses: COFCO Agri, formerly known as Noble Agri Ltd., and Nidera.

With the closing of the transaction, COFCO named Jingtao (Johnny) Chi as chief executive officer of Nidera. He succeeded Dierk Overheu, who announced his retirement effective upon the closing. Overheu had been with Nidera since May 2016.