Minneapolis / MN. (cg) Cargill Inc. has agreed to purchase Archer Daniels Midland Company´s (ADM) global chocolate business for 440 million USD. The acquisition is an excellent fit with Cargill´s existing chocolate business and brings together two organizations with strong talent, broad customer bases and extensive research and development capabilities. «This acquisition is a major milestone in Cargill´s chocolate growth strategy and will help us better serve our customers in North America and Europe», said Bryan Wurscher, president Cargill Cocoa and Chocolate North America. The transaction includes ADM´s three North American chocolate plants, located in Milwaukee (Wisconsin), Hazleton (Pennsylvania), and Georgetown (Ontario), and three in Europe: Liverpool (United Kingdom), Manage (Belgium) and Mannheim (Germany). These new facilities will extend and complement Cargill´s existing chocolate footprint across North America, Europe, Asia and Brazil, and increase production capacity, particularly in North America. Cargill´s product portfolio will also add ADM´s «Ambrosia», «Merckens» and «Schokinag» brands. Upon completion Cargill will gain approximately 700 new employees. «Cocoa and chocolate products have been key contributors to Cargill´s business since 1979», said Jos de Loor, president Cargill Cocoa + Chocolate EMEA and Asia. «We continue to invest strongly in the development of our own facilities and people». The transaction is subject to regulatory approval in the United States and the European Union. It is expected to close in the first half of 2015.