Cargill, Minneapolis, is purchasing Archer Daniels Midland Co.’s global chocolate business for $440 million. The acquisition is an excellent fit with Cargill’s existing chocolate business, according to Cargill, 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 Chicago-based ADM's three North American chocolate plants (Milwaukee, WI; Hazleton, PA; and Georgetown, Ontario) and three European plants (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 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.

“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.”

The transaction is subject to regulatory approval in the U.S. and the European Union. It is expected to close in the first half of 2015.

Source: PRNewswire