Global physical commodities trader Continental Grain Co may be preparing to play a key role in the potential sale of fellow grain trader Bunge, which has been struggling with its finances for the past year.

According to several media outlets, Continental had filed a petition with US regulators concerning a previously undisclosed position in a potential takeover of Bunge and the company had plans to discuss the acquisition plans with Bunge, reported World Grain on 6 March.

Continental – which owned a 1% stake in Bunge – and other investors had reportedly become frustrated with Bunge’s management as the firm had released several consecutive disappointing earnings reports.

World Grain wrote that Continental had acquired approval from US regulators to buy more shares in Bunge, following US Trade Commission rules that required stakeholders to get clearance if they intended to purchase more than US$84M worth of stock in a company they have invested in.

Bunge, which had an approximate market value of US$11bn, has drawn takeover offers over the last year, with Glencore putting forward a takeover offer in early 2017 that was rebuffed and ADM having engaged in talks with Bunge about a possible merger.

Continental Grain, founded in 1813 in Belgium, was a major player in the grain market until 1999 when it sold its grains unit to Cargill for US$1bn.