UPDATE 3-China's COFCO to buy 51 pct of Dutch grains trader Nidera
* Deal values privately-run Nidera at about $4 billion -source
* Will give China access to S.American grain, oilseed supplies
* Purchase may also signal China's goal to build a global trading firm (Recasts with COFCO confirmation, adds advisers)
By Naveen Thukral and Denny Thomas
SINGAPORE/HONG KONG, Feb 28 (Reuters) - China's biggest grains trader COFCO Corp said it is buying a 51 percent stake in Dutch peer Nidera, in a deal that will give the world's most populous country direct access to South American grain and oilseed supplies.
State-owned COFCO, whose announcement on Friday confirmed an earlier Reuters story, did not say how much the deal was worth, but a person with knowledge of the matter said the transaction would value Nidera at about $4 billion, including debt.
In addition to food security, COFCO's first major overseas purchase of a trading house could signal China's ambition to create a global trading company along the lines of Japanese, European and U.S. trading giants.
COFCO has already diversified into downstream activities such as milling, soybean crushing and pig breeding. In recent years, it has also expanded into branded foodstuffs, setting up an online platform to sell packaged foods to China's food safety conscious consumers, and marketing high-end products like its Great Wall wine brand, chocolate and edible oils.
It is the largest shareholder of China's major dairy firm Mengniu and has a growing property portfolio that includes shopping malls and hotels. Continuación...