ConAgra Foods, Cargill and CHS announced that their new joint venture flour milling company, Ardent Mills, is expected to begin operations on or about May 29.
According to a release, the announcement follows the conclusion of regulatory review by the U.S. Department of Justice and the successful completion of all international regulatory clearances. The transaction remains subject to financing and other certain customary closing conditions.
As announced in March 2013, Ardent Mills will bring together two flour milling companies: ConAgra Mills and Horizon Milling, a Cargill-CHS joint venture formed in 2002. The new company will take advantage of the combined assets, capabilities and experience of ConAgra Foods, Cargill and CHS to bring flour and grain products, services and solutions to the marketplace. Ardent Mills will operate as an independent joint venture of its three parent companies, Omaha, Neb.-based ConAgra Foods, Minneapolis, Minn.-based Cargill and St. Paul, Minn.-based CHS.
Paul Maass, president of Private Brands and Commercial Foods for ConAgra Foods said, "We are excited to reach this milestone in the formation of Ardent Mills and eagerly anticipate the joint venture beginning operations this month. We strongly believe in the merits of this transaction and the benefits it will bring to customers, consumers, wheat suppliers, shareholders and employees."
ConAgra Foods and Cargill expect to complete the sale of four flour milling facilities prior to May 29 to Miller Milling Company - a U.S.-based subsidiary of Tokyo-based Nisshin Flour Milling Inc. Following the completion of the joint venture, Ardent Mills' operations and services will be supported by 40 flour mills, three bakery mix facilities and a specialty bakery, all located in the U.S., Canada and Puerto Rico.
"This joint venture positions Ardent Mills to deliver greater value and innovation to customers and consumers while enhancing customer and consumer choice," said Scott Portnoy, corporate vice president, Cargill.
Mark Palmquist, executive vice president and chief operating officer-Ag Business, CHS Inc. added, "The formation of Ardent Mills will provide expanded opportunities for wheat growers and co-ops because the new company's asset base will provide additional sourcing opportunities. In addition, Ardent Mills' product innovation capabilities and other strengths will enable these wheat growers to further connect to the consumer marketplace."
Ardent Mills will offer a unique set of services, including product development resources, technical and application support, supply chain management and commodity price risk management. Ardent Mills also will tap the market knowledge, transportation logistics, consumer insights, wheat sourcing capabilities, food ingredients and culinary expertise currently available through ConAgra Foods, Cargill and CHS.
As previously announced, Ardent Mills' headquarters will be located in Denver. The new company is expected to have a presence in downtown Denver starting in 2014. In addition to its headquarters, Ardent Mills will operate satellite offices in Omaha, Neb., and Minneapolis, Minn.
ConAgra Foods and Cargill will each own a 44 percent stake in Ardent Mills, with CHS owning a 12 percent interest. All three companies will have representatives on Ardent Mills' board of directors.
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