ConAgra Foods, Cargill and CHS have announced that their 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," said Dan Dye, who currently serves as president of Horizon Milling and will lead Ardent Mills as CEO once the new company is formed. "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. 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."
The partners 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 Gov. John Hickenlooper said he welcomes the decision. "Ardent Mills is an excellent fit for Colorado and will bring benefits to both rural and urban areas of the state," said Hickenlooper. "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 flour milling companies: ConAgra Mills and Horizon Milling, a Cargill-CHS joint venture formed in 2002. The new company intends to 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.