PARIS, March 15 (Reuters) - Chinese food group COFCO Corp has hired banks to advise on a plan to merge trading arm COFCO International with some domestic businesses before a listing of shares in the new entity, Bloomberg reported on Monday, citing sources.
State-owned COFCO has previously said it aims to list its international trading division, after the acquisition of Dutch-based Nidera and the agribusiness of Noble Group from 2014 turned it into a global agricultural commodity merchant.
Bloomberg said COFCO has hired banks to advise on a possible merger of COFCO International with domestic trading and processing assets ahead of an initial public offering.
The merger part of the plan is expected to be completed this year, with the share listing possibly following in late 2021 or early 2022. The listing would most likely be in Shanghai and could be worth more than $5 billion, it said.
A COFCO International spokesman declined to comment. COFCO Corp could not be immediately reached.
COFCO has previously indicated it controls around 60% of Geneva-based COFCO International, with the rest owned by five financial investors: Temasek, Standard Chartered bank, China Investment Corporation, Hopu Investment Management, and the International Finance Corporation of the World Bank.
(Reporting by Gus Trompiz; editing by David Evans)
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