Cargill Chocolate

Cargill has agreed to purchase Archer Daniels Midland Co. (ADM)'s global chocolate business for $440 million.

However, ADM will keep its cocoa press business, which represents two-thirds of the company’s cocoa and chocolate segment.

Cargill says the acquisition is an excellent fit with its existing chocolate business and brings together two organizations with strong talent, broad customer bases and extensive research and development capabilities.

"This acquisition is a major milestone in Cargill's chocolate growth strategy and will help us better serve our customers in North America and Europe," says Bryan Wurscher, president Cargill Cocoa and Chocolate North America. "It will bring together great people with a deep passion and commitment to producing excellent chocolate. Our customers will benefit from a broader product portfolio, greater access to innovation and product development support."

The transaction includes ADM's three North American chocolate plants, located in Milwaukee (Wis.), Hazleton (Penn.), and Georgetown (Ontario), and three in Europe: Liverpool (U.K.), Manage (Belgium) and Mannheim (Germany).

These new facilities will extend and complement Cargill's existing chocolate footprint across North America, Europe, Asia and Brazil, and increase production capacity, particularly in North America.

Cargill's product portfolio will also add ADM's Ambrosia, Merckens and Schokinag brands. Upon completion of the deal, which is subject to regulatory approval in the United States and the European Union and expected to close in the first half of 2015, Cargill will gain approximately 700 new employees.

The combined business will be able to offer enhanced capabilities and broader product ranges to support the long-term needs of the chocolate market, Cargill says.

The company also expects the acquisition will prove to be a real benefit to customers' final products because of Cargill's extensive application capability and deep understanding and experience involving texturizers, oils, fats and sweeteners.

"Cocoa and chocolate products have been key contributors to Cargill's business since 1979," says Jos de Loor, president Cargill Cocoa & Chocolate EMEA and Asia. "We continue to invest strongly in the development of our own facilities and people, and we welcome the opportunity to embrace these new operations and further build on our success together."

Cargill Cocoa & Chocolate offers a wide range of both standard and customized cocoa and chocolate ingredients for use in bakery, confectionery, and dairy applications worldwide. The company’s products include high quality Gerkens cocoa powders, chocolate including Wilbur, Peter's and Veliche, coatings, fillings, cocoa liquors and cocoa butters.

With years of experience in technical food expertise, Cargill supports its customers in new recipes and new product development. In addition, to secure a good quality and sustainable supply of cocoa beans, Cargill has its own cocoa bean sourcing operations for buying, handling and/or exporting of cocoa beans in Brazil, Cameroon, Cote d'Ivoire, Indonesia and Vietnam. Its presence in all the leading producing countries allows Cargill to oversee the supply chain from beans at origin to cocoa and chocolate products on its customers' doorstep.