November 1, 2019 / 3:20 AM / a month ago

UPDATE 1-Palm oil firm Golden-Agri takes over RCMA sugar arm in push to diversify

(Recasts with Golden Agri’s confirmation, changes dateline)

LONDON/SINGAPORE, Nov 1 (Reuters) - Palm oil plantation firm Golden Agri-Resources Ltd said it has agreed to take over the sugar trading business of international commodities and energy trader RCMA Group as part of its diversification strategy.

The takeover builds on Golden Agri’s previous investments in sugar trading in Europe in 2018 and reflects its intention to diversify from being a pure palm player, the Singapore-listed company said in a statement on Friday.

“GAR (Golden Agri) has been looking for opportunities to expand our agricultural trading beyond palm oil to create a more diverse base for our business,” said Paul Hickman, head of global vegetable oil and oilseeds for Golden Agri.

A Golden Agri spokeswoman said there were no financial details to disclose as the company was absorbing the RCMA team and there was no transfer of assets.

RCMA’s sugar division is a leading player in the white sugar containerized trading business. It is headed by Jonathan Drake who joined the company is 2012 after a long career with Cargill.

“The decision to transfer our sugar business is aligned with RCMA Group’s vision to become a diversified group with energy, electricity and consumer goods and services,” according to an RCMA notice to clients seen by Reuters.

An RCMA representative at its Singapore headquarters said the company would respond to a Reuters request for comment after London opens for business.

Reuters reported about the takeover earlier in the day, citing the RCMA notice to clients.

Shares of Golden Agri were up 2.4%, while the broader market was down 0.2%. (Reporting by Nigel Hunt in London and Aradhana Aravindan in Singapore; Editing by Himani Sarkar)

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