SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA — GrainCorp announced on Nov. 9 plans to open a European market support and trading office, to be operational in the first half of 2011.

The office will allow the company to provide technical and marketing support to the company’s existing and potential bulk grain customers in Europe, Africa, and the Middle East. The move will also increase the ability of the company to gather market intelligence.

“This is the logical next step in the growth of our grain supply business. Having feet on the ground in Europe will allow GrainCorp to be better informed about international grain markets, and provide customers in the region with the same level of service we provide in Australia,” said GrainCorp Chief Executive Officer Alison Watkins.

Watkins said the European office will complement the company’s office in Singapore and agents in China.

“It will also provide us with additional market intelligence, and add to the information that comes back to us through our U.K., U.S. and Canadian malt barley procurement activities,” she said.

The European office will work as an extension of the company’s Sydney trading desk. Performance reporting, position limits and authority signoffs will be tightly controlled, and align with the GrainCorp’s conservative approach to grain trading risk, Watkins said.