ConAgra Foods,Cargilland CHS announced today a definitive agreement to combine their North American flour milling businesses to form Ardent Mills, a new flour milling company that will serve customers in the baking and food industries.
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,Cargilland CHS to bring innovative flour and grain products, services and solutions to the marketplace.
Ardent Mills’ vision will be to help customers increase their growth and profitability in an ever-changing marketplace. Its products will be backed by an extensive network of wheat sourcing capabilities and flour milling and bakery mix facilities acrossNorth America. The company 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, food ingredients and culinary expertise currently available throughConAgra Foods,Cargilland CHS.
Suppliers, including the many farmers and cooperatives that currently provide wheat to the milling operations of ConAgra Mills and Horizon Milling, are expected to benefit from the additional sourcing opportunities provided by Ardent Mills’ asset base, as well as from more opportunities to make value-adding connections to consumers.
Ardent Mills will operate as an independent joint venture of its three parent companies,Omaha, Neb.-basedConAgra Foods,Minneapolis, Minn.-basedCargillandSt. Paul, Minn.-based CHS.Dan Dye, who currently serves as president of Horizon Milling, will lead Ardent Mills as chief executive officer once the new company is formed. Dye will be joined byBill Stoufer, current president of ConAgra Mills, as Ardent Mills’ chief operating officer and chief integration officer. The company’s operations and services will be supported by 44 flour mills, three bakery mix facilities and a specialty bakery, all located in the U.S.,CanadaandPuerto Rico. The location of its headquarters will be determined at a later date.
ConAgra FoodsandCargillwill 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.
“We’re excited about this unprecedented step to further our heritage in milling while creating long-term value for ConAgra Foods’ shareholders,” saidConAgra FoodsChief Executive OfficerGary Rodkin. “Ardent Mills will set the new industry standard by addressing the most important issues facing customers, such as commodity price volatility, increasingly sophisticated food safety requirements, the need for more cost-effective supply chains and growing market demand for more innovation in products and processes.”
“The future of flour milling is tied to serving the innovation and supply chain management challenges of food producers,” saidScott Portnoy, corporate vice president,Cargill. “This is what makes us excited about Ardent Mills. It will have the knowledge and experience to help customers develop foods that appeal to consumers’ changing taste and texture preferences, while also meeting their nutritional needs. It also will have the assets and capabilities to help customers improve the efficiency of their supply chains and strengthen their commodity risk management.”
“As part of Ardent Mills, CHS farmer-owners will have more opportunity to further connect the wheat they produce to the consumer marketplace,” saidMark Palmquist, executive vice president and chief operating officer, Ag Business, CHS. Palmquist added that CHS, the nation’s leading producer-owned cooperative, will be among the new company’s wheat suppliers.