Ardent Mills: Begins Operations

Denver / CO. (am) This days were the first days of business for Ardent Mills, a premier flour-milling company supported by 40 mills, three bakery mix facilities and a specialty bakery. As announced the first time in March 2013, Ardent Mills combines the operations of ConAgra Mills and Horizon Milling, a Cargill / CHS JV.

«This is a proud day for our employees and customers who have supported Ardent Mills during every step in this process as we begin a new era in grain», said Dan Dye, CEO, Ardent Mills. «Today is about many parts coming together to make a new and stronger whole. It is about a collective strength, history and ability to deliver quality and nutritious ingredients and carry that legacy into the future». Ardent Mills will operate as an independent joint venture of its three parent companies, Omaha, Nebraska-based ConAgra Foods, Minneapolis, Minnesota-based Cargill and St. Paul, Minnesota-based CHS. The company will maximize the combined assets, capabilities and experience of its parent companies to bring innovative flour and grain products, services and solutions to the marketplace.

As previously announced, Ardent Mills´ headquarters will be in the downtown Denver area. The new company is expected to have a presence in the Denver area starting later this year.

«Landing Ardent Mills is a little like winning the Super Bowl – or at least the Flour Bowl – especially for rural communities», said Governor John Hickenlooper. «We are thrilled and honoured that Ardent Mills has made this investment in our state. We are at the ready to support their team, and we have every confidence Ardent Mills will become the most innovative and successful milling operation in the country».

Ardent Mills will tap the market knowledge, transportation logistics, consumer insights, wheat sourcing capabilities, food ingredients and culinary expertise currently available through its parent companies. It will also provide expanded opportunities for wheat growers and co-ops because its asset base will offer additional sourcing opportunities. In addition, Ardent Mills´ product innovation capabilities and other strengths will enable these wheat growers to further connect to the consumer marketplace.

«The North American Miller´s Association (NAMA) welcomes Ardent Mills and the innovations it will contribute to our industry», said Jim McCarthy, President and CEO of NAMA. «This new company represents the ongoing strength of the U.S. milling industry and the popularity of milled flour products». Bill Stoufer, Chief Operating Officer and Chief Integration Officer, Ardent Mills, said, «There is an excitement and energy among our employees to deliver quality ingredients rooted in sustainability, health and wellness, and aligned with the latest food trends. Ardent Mills will be a trusted partner for our customers, and we will always challenge ourselves to provide the best to our consumers and communities through innovative and nutritious grain-based solutions». In addition to its Denver-area headquarters, Ardent Mills operates satellite offices in Omaha, Nebraska, and Minneapolis, Minnesota. ConAgra Foods and Cargill each own a 44 percent stake in Ardent Mills, with CHS owning a twelve percent interest. All three companies have representatives on Ardent Mills´ board of directors.

Wells Fargo Securities LLC served as the exclusive financial advisor to ConAgra Foods, Cargill and CHS on the formation of Ardent Mills as well as the associated divestiture of the four flour mills to Miller Milling Inc., a subsidiary of the Nisshin Seifun Group.

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