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ADM

ADM to pursue sale of chocolate business only

Company plans to keep the majority of its cocoa press operations.

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Archer Daniels Midland Co. (ADM) says it will pursue the sale of its chocolate business, while retaining the majority of its cocoa press operations.

ADM also said it had recently had extensive negotiations with a potential buyer about the sale of the company’s global cocoa and chocolate business, but in the end, they couldn’t agree on terms.

While they didn’t name any names, sources familiar with the discussions told Reuters last year that Cargill Inc had been in final-stage talks with ADM to buy ADM's cocoa and chocolate businesses.

Patricia Woertz, the company’s chairman and ceo, explained that ADM has worked to improve its cocoa business over the last year, most notably by significantly reducing invested capital.

“At the same time, we have also seen industry conditions improve as crop supplies have returned to normal,” she says. “Given improved underlying conditions and the success of our efforts to reduce capital intensity, we see a promising outlook for the cocoa press business and believe it will meet our returns objectives."

The company has engaged advisers to facilitate the sale process.

“ADM is moving ahead with a process to sell our global chocolate business while retaining most of our cocoa press operations,” Woertz says. “This approach will position ADM to realize the greatest overall value from these businesses.”

ADM has chocolate manufacturing operations in Hazleton, Pa.; Milwaukee, Wis.; Georgetown, Ontario; Liverpool, U.K.; Manage, Belgium; and Mannheim, Germany.

The news was announced Tuesday, along with two other items: ADM is signing a definitive agreement to sell its South American fertilizer business to Mosaic and will acquire the remaining stake of Toepfer, a global grains business .

“We are committed to ongoing portfolio management to realize value from our businesses and to deploy our capital where it can best improve returns,” Woertz says. “The actions we are announcing today are results of this continuing process. Each of these transactions will help ADM continue to improve returns and create shareholder value.”

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