Thoresen Thai Agencies (TTA) has signaled its intention to diversify its business activities with the acquisition of a minority stake in Singapore-listed Sino Grandness Foods.

The Thai shipping giant will purchase 60.6m newly-issued Sino Grandness shares for S$0.61 each through its subsidiary Soleado Holdings. The investment equates to 9% of the Chinese juice and canned food company's enlarged share capital, making TTA the second-largest shareholder in the group.

Sino Grandness plans to increase capital to finance its growth. The private placement was the first phase, to be followed by a spin-off its fruit juice segment, TTA said.

The firm added: "TTA secures this opportunity because it matches our new investment criteria in providing growth potential and healthy profitability."

TTA is implementing a strategy to expand its investment profile and gain access to what it sees as high-growth areas, such as food and beverage sales in China. The company indicated it is targeting investments that generate returns of no less than 11%.

"The investment is the first step for TTA towards creating sustainable growth... by expanding its footprint into high-growth and high-profitability margin food and beverage in the People's Republic of China, the world's fastest growing major economy," TTA stressed.