Commodities trading house Noble Group is winding down its cocoa operations, Reuters reported, citing three industry sources.
The exit will allow its joint venture with China’s state-grains trader Cofco to focus on larger agricultural markets, such as grains, the report said.
Two of the sources said the Hong Kong-based commodities trader is expected to liquidate its cocoa trading book by June.
They said Noble has struck a deal to offload some of its cocoa pod counting and sustainability operations to US-based cocoa trader and processor Transmar Group, which will help wind down Noble’s trading book.
The planned exit from cocoa is the first major change since Chinese state-grains trader Cofco paid US$1.5 billion for a 51 percent stake in Noble’s loss-making agricultural division in April last year.
“The bottom line is the Chinese didn’t want it,” one source said, referring to the cocoa business.
The move follows the departure of Paul Davis, a veteran cocoa trader, who resigned as global head of cocoa in October.
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