BEIJING, CHINA — COFCO Corp. has invited investment banks to submit proposals for a possible group restructuring, Bloomberg reported on May 18.

Citing sources close to the matter, the news agency reported COFCO will consider combining units and selling peripheral businesses to improve profitability. Possibilities that may be proposed include COFCO’s cooking oil producer China Foods selling its confectionary business or merging with a sister firm such as oilseed processor China Agri-Industries Holdings.

There were reports earlier this month that COFCO is working with China Investment Corp. (CIC) to set a joint venture to control COFCO’s interests in Noble Group Ltd. and Nidera.

CIC would own 20% of the joint venture, with COFCO controlling the remaining 80%. COFCO owns 51% of Noble’s agribusiness and 51% of Nidera.

“COFCO has been very active in acquiring overseas assets,” Liu Guanyu, a manager at Xiamen International Trade Group Corp, which buys and sells commodities including iron ore and rubber, told Bloomberg. “Its strategy now is to consolidate, to create a full industrial chain in the global agricultural market.”    
The government picked COFCO in July for a trial on improving the efficiency and returns of investments, part of a push by Chinese President Xi Jinping to introduce more market discipline at state-owned enterprises. COFCO hasn’t yet hired an adviser or decided on a course of action, and any restructuring plan would need regulatory approval, Bloomberg reported.