COFCO's stand at a tea exhibition in Beijing. ZHAN MIN / FOR CHINA DAILY
Shares of three listed units of State-owned China National Cereals, Oils and Foodstuffs Corp rose sharply on Wednesday, after the country's biggest food supplier by volume announced further plans for mixed-ownership reform on Monday.
COFCO Biochemical (Anhui) Co Ltd stocks reached their 10 percent daily limit in early trading hours, and settled at 14.66 yuan ($2.13) per share, up 6.85 percent from the opening price. Another two listed subsidiaries－COFCO Property (Group) Co Ltd and COFCO Tunhe Sugar Co Ltd－also closed more than 3 percent higher than their opening prices.
On the same day, the benchmark Shanghai Composite Index edged up by 0.24 percent.
The group's headquarters announced goals to carry out mixed-ownership reform in all of its 18 specialized arms by 2018, and 12 of them have diversified their shareholding structures.
Wu Li, an analyst at Wuhan-based TF Securities, said the operational efficiency of the agricultural products trader was expected to continue to improve, as it has been cutting costs and prioritizing its main businesses.
Wu said he would remain bullish on stocks of some COFCO listed arms, especially those rolling out the employee stock ownership plan or those preparing to do so.
The plan is designed to transfer shares in the company to executives and employees, to enhance a company's earning ability.
Since last year, the Beijing-based conglomerate started to speed up the pace of mixed-ownership reform through different approaches, such as transformation, restructuring and pushing core assets to go public.
COFCO's media office said the latest four arms that introduced non-State investment last year were in real estate, engineering technology, meat processing and packaging.
The next three targets in 2017, according to the group, are subsidiaries in the fodder, liquor and tea businesses, which aim to go public.
COFCO's profit surged 79 percent year-on-year to 6.15 billion yuan in 2016, and its revenue was 408.3 billion yuan in the same year.
Li Jin, chief researcher at the China Enterprise Research Institute, said COFCO's reform has achieved positive results so far.
The next step for the group to deepen mixed ownership reform is introducing strategic investors.