BEIJING Dec 24 China's largest grain trader,
COFCO Co. Ltd, has paid 194 million yuan ($23.37 million) to take
over a meat joint venture by U.S.-based Smithfield Foods Inc and
Belgium's ARTAL Group in China.
The 100 percent stake in Maverick Food Co. Ltd will expand
COFCO's meat industry production chain, COFCO said in a statement
Maverick Food, set up in 2002, produces high quality meat
products and frozen bakery goods with markets mainly in major
cities such as Hong Kong, Beijing and Shanghai.
COFCO has been agressively expanding into the meat industry
in China, the world's largest pork consumer. It earlier built pig
breeding farms with one million pigs each and slaughterhouses in
Tianjin and Jiangsu province, it said.
COFCO also holds about a 5 percent share in Smithfield
SFD.N, the largest U.S. hog and pork producer.
(Reporting by Niu Shuping and Tom Miles; Editing by Jonathan