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Noble Group's head of grain and oilseeds departs

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The head of grain and oilseeds for Noble Group Ltd's agribusiness has left the commodity trade house, two sources familiar with the matter said on Friday, as the unit's integration with China's COFCO picks up.

[LONDON] The head of grain and oilseeds for Noble Group Ltd's agribusiness has left the commodity trade house, two sources familiar with the matter said on Friday, as the unit's integration with China's COFCO picks up.

Switzerland-based Paul Marland had run Noble's grain and oilseeds operations since 2012.

A spokesman for Noble Group said the company did not comment on personnel or business matters.

Marland declined to comment when contacted by Reuters.

Sources said Noble's agribusiness was in a period of transition after China's state-run grain trading company COFCO Corp paid an initial US$1.5 billion to buy a 51 per cent stake in the unit in April last year.

The deal closely followed COFCO buying a 51 per cent stake in Dutch trader Nidera, bringing its combined investments to US$2.8 billion in just over a year and marking the biggest overseas acquisitions in China's grain sector, enabling COCFO's expansion into international grain trading.

Earlier this week COFCO said it was planning to list all of COFCO's, Noble's, and Nidera's agricultural assets together within three to five years.

"Paul Marland resigned last week. I believe he had concerns over his future in the combined Noble Agri, Nidera, COFCO merger and could not get any assurances," a source familiar with the matter said.

Another source said that the companies were expected to start combining their trading books within the next few weeks.

Traders said that while they did not expect combining the trading operations of the three entities to have a market impact, it could lead to staff cuts.

"They will reshuffle the whole trading teams," a trader said.

REUTERS