ConAgra Foods, Cargill and CHS Expect to Complete Ardent Mills Transaction This Month
Customers to benefit from broad portfolio of flours and specialty products, all backed by the supply assurance of an extensive North American sourcing and milling network
OMAHA, Neb., and MINNEAPOLIS – May 20, 2014 – ConAgra Foods, Cargill and CHS are pleased to announce today that their new joint venture flour milling company, Ardent Mills, is expected to begin operations on or about May 29, 2014. Today’s 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 of the nation’s leading and most respected 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 innovative 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. To learn more about Ardent Mills, visit www.ardentmills.com.
About ConAgra Foods
ConAgra Foods, Inc. (NYSE: CAG) is one of North America's largest packaged food companies with branded and private branded food found in 99 percent of America’s households, as well as a strong commercial foods business serving restaurants and foodservice operations globally. Consumers can find recognized brands such as Banquet®, Chef Boyardee®, Egg Beaters®, Healthy Choice®, Hebrew National®, Hunt's®, Marie Callender's®, Orville Redenbacher's®, PAM®, Peter Pan®, Reddi-wip®, Slim Jim®, Snack Pack® and many other ConAgra Foods brands, along with food sold by ConAgra Foods under private brand labels, in grocery, convenience, mass merchandise, club and drug stores. Additionally, ConAgra Foods supplies frozen potato and sweet potato products as well as other vegetable, spice, bakery and grain products to commercial and foodservice customers. For more information, please visit us at www.conagrafoods.com.
Cargill provides food, agriculture, financial and industrial products and services to the world. Together with farmers, customers, governments and communities, we help people thrive by applying our insights and nearly 150 years of experience. We have 143,000 employees in 67 countries who are committed to feeding the world in a responsible way, reducing environmental impact and improving the communities where we live and work. For more information, visit Cargill.com and our News Center.
CHS Inc. (NASDAQ: CHSCP, CHSCO and CHSCN) is a leading global agribusiness owned by farmers, ranchers and cooperatives across the United States. Diversified in energy, grains and foods, CHS is committed to helping its customers, farmer-owners and other stakeholders grow their businesses through its domestic and global operations. CHS, a Fortune 100 company, supplies energy, crop nutrients, grain marketing services, livestock feed, food and food ingredients, along with business solutions including insurance, financial and risk management services. The company operates petroleum refineries/pipelines and manufactures, markets and distributes Cenex® brand refined fuels, lubricants, propane and renewable energy products. Visit us at www.chsinc.com.
Cautionary Statement Regarding Forward-looking Statements
This release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These forward-looking statements are based on ConAgra Foods’ current expectations and are subject to uncertainty and changes in circumstances. These forward-looking statements include, among others, statements regarding expected synergies and benefits of the potential combination of the flour milling businesses of ConAgra Foods, Cargill and CHS (the “Joint Venture”), expectations about future business plans, prospective performance and opportunities, and the expected timing of the completion of the transaction. These forward-looking statements may be identified by the use of words such as “expect,” “anticipate,” “believe,” “estimate,” “potential,” “should” or similar words. There is no assurance that the Joint Venture will be consummated, and there are a number of risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from the forward-looking statements made herein. These risks and uncertainties include the timing to consummate the Joint Venture among ConAgra Foods, Cargill and CHS; the ability and timing to obtain financing and satisfy closing conditions; the Joint Venture’s ability to realize the cost synergies contemplated by the Joint Venture; the Joint Venture’s ability to promptly and effectively integrate the business of ConAgra Foods, Cargill and CHS; the availability and prices of raw materials, including any negative effects caused by inflation and adverse weather conditions; future economic circumstances; industry conditions; the Joint Venture’s ability to execute its operating plans; the competitive environment and related market conditions; operating efficiencies; access to capital; actions of governments and regulatory factors affecting the Joint Venture’s businesses; and other risks and uncertainties pertinent to ConAgra Mills and discussed in ConAgra Foods’ filings with the SEC, including its most recent annual report on Form 10-K and subsequent reports on Forms 10-Q and 8-K. Investors and security holders are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date they are made. ConAgra Foods disclaims any obligation to update or revise statements contained in this release to reflect future events or circumstances or otherwise.
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