TOKYO, JAPAN — Marubeni Corporation of Japan and Covantis SA announced on Dec. 15 that an agreement has been reached for Marubeni to invest and acquire shares in the Swiss-based digital Blockchain start up. The deal will be finalized subject to regulatory approval.

Covantis’ founding members are global agribusiness companies Archer Daniels Midland (ADM), Bunge, Cargill, Cofco Corp., Louis Dreyfus Co. and Viterra.

Covantis was first announced as an initiative in late 2018 to accelerate the transformation of global trade execution processes. Covantis’ vision is to “build a fair, trusted platform for post-trade execution processes of agri-commodities in bulk, that improves efficiency, transparency, and information exchange for everyone feeding the world.”

Covantis, an independent legal entity based in Geneva, was incorporated in March 2020. In early 2021, Covantis announced that its industry-changing digital platform was live and operational.

“Marubeni is proud to invest in Covantis and continue exploring opportunities to transform the centuries-old archaic processes of agri-commodities execution,” said Akira Terakawa, chief executive officer, Food, Agriculture & Chemicals Group, Marubeni. “International bulk commodities trading, including grain and oilseed, requires complicated business workflows, including preparing, exchanging, and confirming many physical documents like contracts or certificates between multiple parties throughout the supply chain from supplier to buyer.

“The issue at stake is to improve efficiency, accuracy, and transparency in the industry and we are proud to participate in the initiative that provides these solutions. Marubeni brings a wealth of knowledge in supply chain management with a very strong base in procurement, distribution and storage in its home market Japan. Together we plan to further strengthen the value proposition to the market participants and enable end-to-end supply chain optimization from the initial supplier to end-buyer.”

Petya Sechanova, chief executive officer of Covantis, said its network “has significantly expanded since February this year when we announced the launch of our industry-changing digital platform.”

“We now have 24 clients, over 80 legal entities and hundreds of people who use Covantis for cross-border shipment execution. Welcoming Marubeni to our shareholders’ group will enable us to continue investing in new capabilities, expanding to new origin and destination markets, and new commodities thus increasing the value proposition for our current and future clients.”

Among Marubeni’s agribusiness assets include US companies Gavilon Agriculture Investment, Inc. and Columbia Grain International, LLC, which handle grain origination and distribution, and Pacificor, LLC, which operates grain export terminals on the US West Coast.