Sinochem has made a conditional takeover approach for Australia’s Nufarm, one of the world’s largest "off-patent" agricultural chemical manufacturers. This is the latest sign of China’s interest in Australian assets. (Off patent here, it is thought, means chemicals not protected by patent although some of the products like NuFarm and Roundup seem to suggest they are protected.)
Shares in Nufarm, which was the target of an aborted A$3bn (US$2.5bn) consortium bid led by China National Chemical Corporation in 2007, jumped on news of the "confidential, preliminary and incomplete" approach. That phrase sounds like a done deal but may not be.
Chinalco, which earlier this year was thwarted in its attempt to make a $19.5bn investment into Rio Tinto, the Anglo-Australian miner, this week said it was interested in investing in non-ferrous mining assets in Australia.
The Financial Times reports China is seeking to buy assets and companies at discount prices before the economies of developed country went into recovery. Seems a smart move.