Finally, Cargill has been cleared to acquire Archer Daniels Midland’s chocolate business in Europe — but part of the deal means giving up a production facility in Germany.


The European Commission has given Cargill clearance to the approvals granted earlier by the U.S. Department of Justice, and this completes the regulatory approval process for the global deal.


Once the transaction closes, three chocolate, compound and liquor production sites in North America — Milwaukee (Wis.), Hazleton (Penn.) and Georgetown (Ontario) — and three chocolate and compound production sites in Europe — Liverpool (U.K.), Manage (Belgium) and Mannheim (Germany) — as well as more than 650 employees will transfer to Cargill.


In addition, the Ambrosia, Merckens and Schokinag brands will join Cargill's existing portfolio of high quality chocolate brands.


However, as part of the agreement to address the European Commission's competition concerns, Cargill will divest ADM's industrial chocolate production facility in Mannheim, Germany. The facility will be kept as a separate entity with its own interim management until an agreement with a prospective buyer has been made.


As for the other sites, Cargill says it will work together to design the most appropriate structure to meet and exceed the needs of our customers.


Cargill hopes the deal will help its customers benefit from a broader product portfolio, greater access to innovation and product development support.


The company says it was motivated to buy ADM Chocolate because the, “acquisition represents an excellent fit with Cargill’s existing chocolate business and brings together two organizations with strong customer bases and extensive research and development capabilities.”


The company also hopes the deal will help it better serve its customers in North America and Europe, by bringing together, “great people with a deep passion and commitment to producing excellent chocolate.”


As for how the deal will impact ADM’s current employees, Cargill says it will take over all ADM chocolate employees upon closure of the deal, and then evaluate the situation site by site.


“For each site we are buying, we will have a detailed look into the site’s capabilities and products and make a proper assessment before making any decisions,” explains Louis de Schorlemer, EMEA corporate communications manager, corporate affairs, Cargill. “Our priority will be to operate in a way which delivers the maximum service and benefit to our customers.”


And Jos de Loor, president of Cargill's cocoa and chocolate business EMEA and Asia says, “We are looking forward to bringing together people with a deep passion, experience and commitment to producing excellent chocolate in our extended chocolate operations.”


As for the impact on the chocolate business world wide, Schorlemer says that with the growing demand for chocolate in areas like Asia and the Middle East, “the market is well served by a number of excellent chocolate companies and Cargill is just one of them.”


And de Loor agrees.


"Growing our business goes hand in hand with our commitment to securing the long-term viability of a strong and sustainable cocoa bean supply chain,” de Loor says. “With the Cargill Cocoa Promise, we are supporting progress towards a transparent cocoa supply chain, enabling farmers to achieve better livelihoods and delivering a sustainable supply of cocoa and chocolate products to meet the growing demands from customers."


Bryan Wurscher, president, Cargill Cocoa and Chocolate North America, says the acquisition underlines Cargill’s commitment to meeting its customers’ needs and strengthens its position as a leading player in the sector.


"The new organization will deepen our service to chocolate customers and expand our footprint and production capability significantly,” he explains. “Customers will benefit from a combined business with a broad range of high quality cocoa and chocolate products for confectionery, bakery, dairy, and other applications."


Cargill provides food, agriculture, financial and industrial products and services to the world. With 152,000 employees in 67 countries, it helps people thrive by applying insights and 150 years of experience.


Cargill's cocoa and chocolate business offers the food industry a wide range of both standard and customized cocoa and chocolate ingredients for use in delicious bakery, confectionery and dairy applications all over the world. The company's product range includes high quality Gerkens cocoa powders, chocolate, coatings, fillings, cocoa liquors and cocoa butters.