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ConAgra, Cargill and CHS secure US antitrust approval for flour milling JV

21 May 2014

US antitrust regulators have approved a proposal from ConAgra Foods, CHS and Cargill to merge their North American flour operations and create a new joint venture (JV) flour milling company, Ardent Mills.

The new JV is expected to be operational on or around 29 May 2014, according to the companies.

The announcement follows the completion of a regulatory review by the US Department of Justice, as well as all international regulatory clearances.

The deal remains subject to financing and other certain customary closing conditions.

Ardent Mills will combine two major flour milling companies in the US - 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 the three companies and will operate as an independent joint venture of its three parent companies.

ConAgra Foods private brands and commercial foods president Paul Maass said the company is excited to reach this milestone in the formation of Ardent Mills, and eagerly anticipates the beginning of 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."

"We strongly believe in the merits of this transaction and the benefits it will bring to customers, consumers, wheat suppliers, shareholders and employees," Maass added.

Late last month, ConAgra Foods and Horizon Milling agreed to sell four US flour mills to Miller Milling, a US-based subsidiary of Tokyo-based Nisshin Flour Milling.

The sale is expected to be completed prior to 29 May 2014.

Following the completion of the JV, the operations and services of Ardent Mills will be supported by 40 flour mills, three bakery mix facilities and a speciality bakery, all located in the US, Canada and Puerto Rico.

Cargill corporate vice president Scott Portnoy said, "This joint venture positions Ardent Mills to deliver greater value and innovation to customers and consumers while enhancing customer and consumer choice."