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Archer Daniels Midland

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, a consumer products maker, said today they will form an equally owned joint venture for making and selling diacylglycerol oil.

The cooking oil is sold in Japan under the trade name Econa. ADM said studies have shown the product capable of aiding in "the maintainence or loss of weight and fat mass."

Kao introduced Econa in Japan in 1999. The companies hope to open a pilot production plant at ADM's headquarters in Decatur, Ill., in November 2001. Others specifics of the venture weren't disclosed, but the companies said future developments will be announced in early 2001.

Shares of ADM lost 31 cents, or 2%, to $15.23 in recent

New York Stock Exchange