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Cargill, ConAgra, CHS create milling giant

ConAgra Foods, Cargill and CHS are combining their North American flour milling businesses to form Ardent Mills, a new flour milling company.

Ardent Mills will operate as an independent joint venture of its three parent companies.

The venture is being pursued to improve new product development, supply chain management and commodity price risk management, said a news release from the companies.

The deal combines the players’ two milling companies, ConAgra Mills, owned by ConAgra Foods of Ohama, Nebraska, and Horizon Milling, a joint venture formed in 2002 by Cargill and farmer-owned co-operative CHS, both based in Minnesota.

The new company encompasses 44 flour mills, three bakery mix facilities and a specialty bakery, all located in the U.S., Canada and Puerto Rico. The location of its headquarters will be determined later. The combined sales of Horizon and ConAgra was about $4.3 billion the last fiscal year.

In Canada, Horizon Milling has mills in Saskatoon and Montreal. ConAgra does not have mills in Canada.

In the United States, Horizon is the largest miller, followed by ADM and ConAgra.

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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