To cope with the volatile grain market, leading global food and grains company Archer Daniels Midland Co (ADM) is restructuring its operations in Argentina and preparing to close its South African office, Reuters reported on 6 April.

In late March, the company turned off the lights at its Toepfer grains trading unit in Buenos Aires, Reuters said quoting three anonymous “industry sources familiar with the situation”.

“There was some overlapping of functions between ADM and Toepfer. Redundant activities were cut,” a Buenos Aires-based source said.

Toepfer Argentina was the “largest surviving portion” of the German trading house Alfred C. Toepfer International, of which ADM first bought 80% in 2002 and the rest in 2014.

The Buenos Aires office had steadily reduced its workforce from 85 in 2014 to 15 before the office was closed.

According to Reuters, the restructuring comes at a time of increased competition with COFCO, a Chinese state-owned food processing and trading company, which has recently begun an “aggressive expansion” into the international market.

ADM reported in February a 41% fall in its fourth quarter net revenues at US$424M as gains in agricultural services were offset by losses in global trading.

ADM’s new company in Argentina will keep the ADM name, while three grain elevators along the Paraná River and in Bahia Blanca on the coast of the Atlantic will retain the name of Toepfer.