ConAgra Foods, Cargill and CHS announced today that its proposed new joint venture flour milling company, Ardent Mills, will establish its headquarters in the Denver metropolitan area, contingent upon final application and approval of state and local incentives. The transaction is expected to be completed in late calendar year 2013, following regulatory clearances, financing and the satisfaction of customary closing conditions. A specific office location and operating date has not yet been set for the new headquarters, but the new company is expected to have a presence in the Denver area starting in 2014. “Selecting the Denver area as the home for Ardent Mills will allow us to offer great quality of life for employees, provide excellent service to our customers, and position the business for long-term growth. The energy of this metropolitan area, ranked sixth on Bloomberg BusinessWeek’s list of 50 Best American Cities, is a great match for Ardent Mills,” said Dan Dye, who currently serves as president of Horizon Milling and will lead Ardent Mills as chief executive officer once the new company is formed. “The vision of Ardent Mills is to be the trusted partner in nurturing our customers, consumers and communities through innovative and nutritious grain-based solutions – and we will be well-positioned to achieve that vision from the Denver area.” “We are enthusiastic about making the Denver region the home of Ardent Mills and are eager to establish the company’s roots there after the transaction is completed,” said Bill Stoufer, current president of ConAgra Mills, who will serve as Ardent Mills’ chief operating officer and chief integration officer. “Our intent is to help our customers innovate and grow in a dynamic marketplace, and Ardent Mills will be in a great position to do that in the Denver area.” Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper comments: “Ardent Mills is an excellent fit for Colorado and will bring benefits to both rural and urban areas of the state. We want to welcome Ardent Mills to Colorado and we look forward to helping them tap into one of the nation’s top workforces and our vibrant agriculture community that includes leading agricultural research institutions.”
In addition to its Denver-area presence, Ardent Mills expects to operate satellite offices in Omaha, Neb., and Minneapolis, Minn. No staffing or location changes relating to Ardent Mills will occur until the formation of the new business occurs, which is expected in late 2013.As announced in March, 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, Cargill and CHS to bring innovative flour and grain products, services and solutions to the marketplace. Ardent Mills’ parent companies strongly believe in the merits of this joint venture and the benefits it will bring to customers, consumers and wheat suppliers, and are working diligently to get this transaction done. After the completion of the transaction, Ardent Mills will continue to face significant competition from many other companies in the highly competitive North American flour milling industry. 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, wheat sourcing capabilities and food ingredients and culinary expertise currently available through ConAgra Foods, Cargill and 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’ extensive 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.-based ConAgra Foods, Minneapolis, Minn.-based Cargill and St. Paul, Minn.-based CHS. 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., Canada and Puerto Rico.
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.To learn more about Ardent Mills, visit www.ardentmills.com. About ConAgra Foods ConAgra Foods, Inc., (NYSE: CAG) is one of North America's largest packaged food companies. Its balanced portfolio includes consumer brands found in 97 percent of America’s households, the largest private brand packaged food business in North America, and a strong commercial and foodservice business. Consumers can find recognized brands such as Banquet®, Chef Boyardee®, Egg Beaters®, Healthy Choice®, Hebrew National®, Hunt's®, Marie Callender's®, Orville Redenbacher's®, PAM®, Peter Pan®, Reddi-wip®, Slim Jim®, Snack Pack® and many other ConAgra Foods brands, along with food sold by ConAgra Foods under private brand labels, in grocery, convenience, mass merchandise, club stores and drugstores. ConAgra Foods also has a strong commercial foods presence, supplying frozen potato and sweet potato products as well as other vegetable, spice, bakery and grain products to a variety of well-known restaurants, foodservice operators and commercial customers. For more information, please visit us at www.conagrafoods.com. About Cargill Cargill is an international producer and marketer of food, agricultural, financial and industrial products and services. Founded in 1865, the privately held company employs 142,000 people in 65 countries. Cargill helps customers succeed through collaboration and innovation, and is committed to applying its global knowledge and experience to help meet economic, environmental and social challenges wherever it does business. For more information, visit Cargill.com and its news center. About CHS CHS Inc. (NASDAQ: CHSCP) is a leading global agribusiness owned by farmers, ranchers and cooperatives across the United States. Diversified in energy, grains and foods, CHS is committed to helping its customers, farmer-owners and other stakeholders grow their businesses through its domestic and global operations. CHS, a Fortune 100 company, supplies energy, crop nutrients, grain marketing services, livestock feed, food and food ingredients, along with business solutions including insurance, financial and risk management services. The company operates petroleum refineries/pipelines and manufactures, markets and distributes Cenex ® brand refined fuels, lubricants, propane and renewable energy products. Visit us at www.chsinc.com. Cautionary Statement Regarding Forward-looking Statements This release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These forward-looking statements are based on ConAgra Foods’ current expectations and are subject to uncertainty and changes in circumstances. These forward-looking statements include, among others, statements regarding expected synergies and benefits of the potential combination of the flour milling businesses of ConAgra Foods, Cargill and CHS, expectations about future business plans, prospective performance and opportunities, regulatory approvals and the expected timing of the completion of the transaction. These forward-looking statements may be identified by the use of words such as “expect,” “anticipate,” “believe,” “estimate,” “potential,” “should” or similar words. There is no assurance that the potential transaction will be consummated, and there are a number of risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from the forward-looking statements made herein. These risks and uncertainties include the timing to consummate a potential transaction among ConAgra Foods, Cargill and CHS; the ability and timing to obtain required regulatory approvals and satisfy other closing conditions; the Joint Venture’s ability to realize the cost synergies contemplated by the potential transaction; the Joint Venture’s ability to promptly and effectively integrate the business of ConAgra Foods, Cargill and CHS; the availability and prices of raw materials, including any negative effects caused by inflation and adverse weather conditions; future economic circumstances; industry conditions; the Joint Venture’s ability to execute its operating plans; the competitive environment and related market conditions; operating efficiencies; access to capital; actions of governments and regulatory factors affecting the Joint Venture’s businesses; and other risks and uncertainties pertinent to ConAgra Mills and discussed in ConAgra Foods’ filings with the SEC, including its most recent annual report on Form 10-K and subsequent reports on Forms 10-Q and 8-K. Investors and security holders are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date they are made. ConAgra Foods disclaims any obligation to update or revise statements contained in this release to reflect future events or circumstances or otherwise.