DECATUR, Ill.Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) announced it is actively pursuing the sale of its global chocolate business after extensive negotiations with a unnamed buyer reached a stalemate. ADM intends to maintain the majority of its cocoa press operations.
“Over the last year or so, we’ve taken significant actions to improve our cocoa business, 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," said ADM Chairman and CEO Patricia A. Woertz. “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."
Last July, Food Product Design reported that Cargill, Inc., was rumored be the buyer of ADM’s $2 billion cocoa and chocolate business. The potential deal would have made Cargill highly competitive with Barry Callebaut, which is the world’s leading industrial chocolate product manufacturer.
Adding to the speculation that Cargill was the potential buyer were multiple moves to upgrade and expand its global chocolate and cocoa operations. Early in 2013, the company committed $100 million in a new cocoa processing facility in Indonesia. In December 2013, Cargill Cocoa & Chocolate broke ground on a $48 million project to double the capacity of its Belgian chocolate production facility. And in March 2014, it announced a €10 million investment to expand its specialty cocoa liquors capabilities in its plants in France and Germany in order to meet growing customer demand for premium and organic chocolate products.