ConAgra Foods, Cargill & CHS Announce Flour Milling Joint Venture

ConAgra Foods, Cargill & CHS Announce Flour Milling Joint Venture

ConAgra Foods, Cargill & CHS Announce Flour Milling Joint Venture

Paul Maass, Commercial Foods president, ConAgra Foods, discusses the benefits offered by combining the strengths of ConAgra Mills and Horizon Milling.

linkedin icon

Scott Portnoy, corporate vice president, Cargill, outlines opportunities the creation of Ardent Mills will offer customers.

linkedin icon

Mark Palmquist, Ag Business executive vice president and COO, CHS Inc., talks about how the creation of Ardent Mills will help advance quality, traceability and food safety.

linkedin icon

Quick Facts

  • Ardent Mills will be a new flour milling joint venture jointly owned by ConAgra Foods, Cargill and CHS. (44% ConAgra Foods, 44% Cargill, 12% CHS)
  • The company will combine the operations of ConAgra Mills and Horizon Milling (a Cargill/CHS joint venture) to create a premier flour milling company.
  • Dan Dye, currently president of Horizon Milling, will serve as Ardent Mills' CEO and Bill Stoufer, currently president of ConAgra Mills, will serve as COO and chief integration officer.
  • With a broad footprint and network of facilities in the U.S., Canada and Puerto Rico, Ardent Mills will be supported by a strong network of mills and bakery facilities.
world map

To Our Customers

Ardent Mills is being created to help our customers grow successfully in a challenging marketplace. The new company will offer the broadest range of flours, mixes, blends and specialty products, all backed by the supply assurance of an extensive North American sourcing and milling network. Its products will be complemented by services and solutions aimed at helping customers build top-line growth, improve profitability, manage commodity risk and respond to changing consumer preferences.

Ardent Mills will provide value to customers in four areas:

  1. Help customers innovate and grow
  2. Help customers gain value from strong, end-to-end supply chains
  3. Provide customers with supply assurance
  4. Help customers improve risk management

Customers' Frequently Asked Questions

faq icon

What will be the benefits to customers?

View answer
We are excited about the benefits Ardent Mills will offer our food and bakery customers. The goal is to serve customers even better than today. Ardent Mills will provide its customers the broadest range of flours, blends and specialty products, all backed by the supply assurance of its extensive North American sourcing and milling network. The company’s products will be complemented by strategic solutions aimed at helping customers innovate and grow, gain value from strong end-to-end supply chains, provide supply assurance and help improve commodity risk management.

faq icon

How will this announcement affect each company’s customers right now?

View answer
For now, there will be no changes. Customers will continue to be served independently by their contacts at each company. Each company, however, will begin to reach out separately to its customers to communicate about Ardent Mills and how we desire to better serve their needs. We also have created a website, www.ardentmills.com, where customers can go to learn more. 

faq icon

How will Ardent Mills help customers innovate and grow?

View answer
By combining ConAgra Mills’ and Horizon Milling’s consumer insights, R&D capabilities, technical services and applications support, Ardent Mills will provide customers with access to an even more robust pipeline of flour products and services. Ardent Mills plans to draw on these capabilities to help customers develop foods that appeal to consumers’ changing taste and texture preferences, while also meeting their nutritional needs. 

faq icon

Tell me more about the supply chain benefits.

View answer
  • Ardent Mills will have the flour milling assets, wheat sourcing capabilities and operational flexibility to provide customers with more choices and the assured delivery of quality products with consistent performance – all aimed at creating value for customers. 
  • Ardent Mills’ wheat sourcing capabilities will allow it to make optimal use of milling wheat varieties across its manufacturing network and, on behalf of customers, respond quickly to changing market conditions.
  • Its extensive flour milling network will allow Ardent Mills to efficiently produce and transport a wide range of flours and specialty products, and to serve customers from multiple facilities. 

faq icon

Tell me more about supply assurance.

View answer
Ardent Mills’ grain sourcing capabilities and flour milling network will give customers access to the industry’s most reliable supply chain, resulting in assured product supply. With an extensive network of milling facilities, Ardent Mills can use its asset base more effectively, thereby producing flours, mixes and blends with consistent quality, safety and product performance.

faq icon

Tell me more about strengthened commodity risk management.

View answer
Ardent Mills’ risk management capabilities will help customers more effectively manage the commodity price volatility associated with flour products. Given the heightened volatility in commodity markets in recent years, Ardent Mills will use its knowledge and insight to create solutions that will help customers conduct their business planning more reliably.  

To Our Suppliers

Ardent Mills will bring together two of the nation's leading and most respected milling companies, ConAgra Mills and Horizon Milling (the joint venture of Cargill and CHS). Ardent Mills' primary goal will be to continue ConAgra Mills and Horizon Milling's commitment to delivering innovative products, services and solutions to our customers in a cost-effective way. Ardent Mills will depend on strong and reliable suppliers to achieve these goals.

Suppliers' Frequently Asked Questions

faq icon

What will be the benefits to the wheat growers and cooperatives who currently are suppliers to Horizon Milling and ConAgra Mills?

View answer
The formation of Ardent Mills will provide more opportunities for these farmers and co-ops to add value to the wheat they raise and handle. The company’s asset base will provide additional sourcing opportunities. Its product innovation capabilities and other strengths will enable these growers to further connect to the consumer marketplace.

faq icon

What are expected benefits to other suppliers?

View answer
This exciting, dynamic new company will utilize the knowledge of its experienced workforce and capabilities of an extensive North American geographic network to accelerate the pace of innovation, leverage scale to strengthen end-to-end supply chain management, better manage commodity risk, and provide leadership in food safety. To reach these goals, we will continue to depend on strong, reliable suppliers and business partners.

Press Room

press room icon

ConAgra Foods, Cargill and CHS Name Denver Area as Future Headquarters for Ardent Mills

– OMAHA, Neb., and MINNEAPOLIS – July 16, 2013 – 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. Read more.

ConAgra Foods, Cargill and CHS Name Denver Area as Future Headquarters for Ardent Mills 

OMAHA, Neb., and MINNEAPOLIS – July 16, 2013 – 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 Business Week’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 food service 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. 

## #
 
 

For more information, please contact:

Investors: Chris Klinefelter, 402-240-4154,chris.klinefelter@conagrafoods.com

Media:

Becky Niiya, 402-240-5312, becky.niiya@conagrafoods.com
Lori Fligge, 952-742-2275, lori_fligge@cargill.com
Lani Jordan, 651-355-4946, Lani.Jordan@chsinc.com


press room icon

ConAgra Foods, Cargill and CHS Build Ardent Mills Management Team, Select Chief Financial Officer

– OMAHA, Neb. & MINNEAPOLIS – ConAgra Foods, Cargill and CHS today announced the selection of a key executive leadership team member for Ardent Mills, the proposed new flour milling company announced one month ago that will combine the milling operations of industry leaders ConAgra Mills and Horizon Milling. Read more.

OMAHA, Neb. & MINNEAPOLIS – April 8, 2013 – ConAgra Foods,  Cargill and CHS today announced the selection of a key executive leadership team member for Ardent Mills, the proposed new flour milling company announced one month ago that will combine the milling operations of industry leaders ConAgra Mills and Horizon Milling. Industry veteran Brad Berentson, vice president of finance for ConAgra Mills, will join the newly created organization as its chief financial officer upon close of the transaction.

Berentson joins Dan Dye and Bill Stoufer as a member of the executive management team that will lead Ardent Mills at the completion of the transaction.  Dye, currently president of Horizon Milling, will be Ardent Mills’ chief executive officer and Stoufer, now president of ConAgra Mills, will be chief operating officer and chief integration officer. The new company will combine the best of ConAgra Mills and Horizon Milling, a Cargill-CHS joint venture, to bring the most innovative flour and grain products, services, and solutions to the marketplace. 
 

“We are extremely pleased to announce this important step toward the realization of Ardent Mills,” said Dye. “Brad was selected for this role based on his long track record of success in our industry, including both ingredient and retail experience, a broad range of financial experience, and a passion for developing high performing organizations, leaders, and teams; attributes we view as instrumental in the success of Ardent Mills.”
 

Berentson has more than 25 years of experience in the food industry, including more than a decade with ConAgra Foods in various finance leadership positions, and 15 years at General Mills in business and corporate finance positions.  During Berentson’s tenure, ConAgra Mills achieved both strong top and bottom line growth. Berentson earned a bachelor’s degree in Accounting from the Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota and an MBA in Finance from Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business.
 

“The executive team of Ardent Mills will reflect the new company’s commitment to industry leadership and innovation,” said Stoufer. “We are committed to starting day one with leaders who possess the right talent, knowledge, and experience needed to build our reputation as the premier flour milling company.  I am confident that Brad will bring outstanding strategic direction, passion, and character to Ardent Mills.”
 

Ardent Mills’ vision will be to help customers increase their growth and profitability in an ever-changing marketplace. Its products will be backed by an extensive network of wheat sourcing capabilities and flour milling and bakery mix facilities across North America. 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 knowledge, transportation logistics, consumer insights, food ingredients and culinary expertise currently available through ConAgra Foods, Cargill and CHS. A headquarters location has not yet been announced.
press room icon

ConAgra Foods, Cargill and CHS announce agreement to form joint venture combining flour milling businesses into new company, Ardent Mills

– OMAHA, Neb., and MINNEAPOLIS – ConAgra Foods, Cargill and CHS announced today a definitive agreement to combine their North American flour milling businesses to form Ardent Mills, a new flour milling company that will serve customers in the baking and food industries. Read more.

Ardent Mills will: 
  • Combine the operations of ConAgra Mills and Horizon Milling to create a premier flour milling company. 
  • Connect the strengths and capabilities of ConAgra Foods, Cargill and CHS to benefit bakery and food company customers with innovative flour and grain products,services and solutions.

OMAHA, Neb., and MINNEAPOLIS – ConAgra Foods, Cargill and CHS announced today a definitive agreement to combine their North American flour milling businesses to form Ardent Mills, a new flour milling company that will serve customers in the baking and food industries. 

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’ vision will be to help customers increase their growth and profitability in an ever-changing marketplace. Its products will be backed by an extensive network of wheat sourcing capabilities and flour milling and bakery mix facilities across North America. 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, 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’ 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. Dan Dye, who currently serves as president of Horizon Milling, will lead Ardent Mills as chief executive officer once the new company is formed. Dye will be joined by Bill Stoufer, current president of ConAgra Mills, as Ardent Mills’ chief operating officer and chief integration officer. 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. The location of its headquarters will be determined at a later date. 

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. 

“We’re excited about this unprecedented step to further our heritage in milling while creating long-term value for ConAgra Foods’ shareholders,” said ConAgra Foods Chief Executive Officer Gary Rodkin. “Ardent Mills will set the new industry standard by addressing the most important issues facing customers, such as commodity price volatility, increasingly sophisticated food safety requirements, the need for more cost-effective supply chains and growing market demand for more innovation in products and processes.”

“The future of flour milling is tied to serving the innovation and supply chain management challenges of food producers,” said Scott Portnoy, corporate vice president, Cargill. “This is what makes us excited about Ardent Mills. It will have the knowledge and experience to help customers develop foods that appeal to consumers’ changing taste and texture preferences, while also meeting their nutritional needs. It also will have the assets and capabilities to help customers improve the efficiency of their supply chains and strengthen their commodity risk management.”

“As part of Ardent Mills, CHS farmer-owners will have more opportunity to further connect the wheat they produce to the consumer marketplace,” said Mark Palmquist, executive vice president and chief operating officer, Ag Business, CHS. Palmquist added that CHS, the nation’s leading producer-owned cooperative, will be among the new company’s wheat suppliers.

ConAgra Foods, Cargill and CHS will contribute their respective milling operations to Ardent Mills on a cash-free, debt-free basis in exchange for the agreed ownership interests. Sales for ConAgra Mills, currently a part of ConAgra Foods’ Commercial Foods segment, were approximately $1.8 billion in its fiscal year ended May 27, 2012. Sales for Horizon Milling were approximately $2.5 billion in its fiscal year ended May 31, 2012. The owners intend for Ardent Mills to be self-financed through cash flow from operations and its own bank debt and credit facility. The structure and amount of Ardent Mills’ debt financing will be determined during the pre-close period. The owners intend to receive cash distributions from Ardent Mills at closing. Initial estimates of the total proceeds to be distributed range from $800 million to $1 billion.   

The formation of Ardent Mills is expected to be completed in late calendar year 2013, following regulatory clearances, financing and the satisfaction of customary closing conditions. 

ConAgra Foods, Cargill and CHS look forward to completing the formation of Ardent Mills, creating an exciting, dynamic new company that will utilize its farm-to-consumer knowledge and capabilities to serve bakery and food company customers even better than today. 

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 www.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.

# # #

For more information, please contact:
Investors: Chris Klinefelter, 402-240-4154, chris.klinefelter@conagrafoods.com
Media:
Becky Niiya, 402-240-5312, Becky.Niiya@conagrafoods.com
Lisa Clemens, 952-742-6405, lisa_clemens@cargill.com
Lori Fligge, 952-742-2275, lori_fligge@cargill.com
Lani Jordan, 651-355-4946, Lani.Jordan@chsinc.com

Frequently Asked Questions

faq icon

Why are you forming this new company?

View answer
The three companies are forming Ardent Mills to serve bakery and food company customers even better than today. Ardent Mills will offer customers the broadest range of flours, mixes and specialty products – all backed by the supply assurance of its extensive North American grain sourcing and flour milling network. Its products will be complemented by services and solutions aimed at helping customers build top-line growth, improve profitability, strengthen commodity risk management and respond to changing consumer preferences.

Customers are looking for a partner that can help them develop foods that appeal to consumers’ changing taste and texture preferences, while also meeting their nutritional needs. They also need a partner that can build cost-competitive supply chains, pinpoint operating efficiencies and offer specialized services such as risk management. 
faq icon

What will be the benefits to customers?

View answer
We are excited about the benefits Ardent Mills will offer our food and bakery customers. The goal is to serve customers even better than today. Ardent Mills will provide its customers the broadest range of flours, blends and specialty products, all backed by the supply assurance of its extensive North American sourcing and milling network. The company’s products will be complemented by strategic solutions aimed at helping customers innovate and grow, gain value from strong end-to-end supply chains, provide supply assurance and help improve commodity risk management.

faq icon

How will this announcement affect each company’s customers right now?

View answer
For now, there will be no changes. Customers will continue to be served independently by their contacts at each company. Each company, however, will begin to reach out separately to its customers to communicate about Ardent Mills and how we desire to better serve their needs. We also have created a website, www.ardentmills.com, where customers can go to learn more.

faq icon

What will be the benefits to the wheat growers and cooperatives who currently are suppliers to Horizon Milling and ConAgra Mills?

View answer
The formation of Ardent Mills will provide more opportunities for these farmers and co-ops to add value to the wheat they raise and handle. The company’s asset base will provide additional sourcing opportunities. Its product innovation capabilities and other strengths will enable these growers to further connect to the consumer marketplace.

faq icon

Who will lead the new company?

View answer
Dan Dye, who is the current president of Horizon Milling, will become Ardent Mills’ chief executive officer when the transaction is completed. Dye will be joined by Bill Stoufer, current president of ConAgra Mills, as Ardent Mills’ chief operating officer and chief integration officer and Brad Berentson as chief financial officer. Additional members of the leadership team are expected to be named in the coming months. When these decisions are ready to be announced, the information will be posted to Ardent Mills’ website.

faq icon

When will the transaction be completed and Ardent Mills open for business?

View answer
We expect to complete the formation of Ardent Mills in calendar year 2014, following regulatory clearances, financing and the satisfaction of customary closing conditions

faq icon

What is the meaning of the Ardent Mills name and logo?

View answer
The name Ardent Mills was chosen because it conveys strength, passion and commitment to the customer – attributes at the heart of the new company. The shape of the Ardent Mills logo was inspired by the silhouette of a kernel of wheat. A vertical “arrow” was incorporated in the center to represent the progressiveness of the new company. 

faq icon

How did discussions about combining the companies begin?

View answer
All three of our companies have known and respected each other for a long time. There wasn’t any single trigger event. The concept of combining our milling operations developed over the normal course of business -- each of us examining how we do business today and how we might want to adapt and change to better serve our customers tomorrow. It led us to the shared notion that together we can better serve the baking and food industries.

faq icon

Where will the new headquarters be located?

View answer
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 calendar year 2014, 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 shortly after the close of the transaction.
faq icon

How many people work for Horizon Milling and ConAgra Mills?

View answer
Horizon Milling employs about 1,400 people and ConAgra Mills about 1,000. Staffing plans for the new business have not been determined. Both companies intend to communicate regularly with their respective employees in the months ahead.

faq icon

What assets are the companies contributing to Ardent Mills?

View answer
Under the terms of the agreement, ConAgra Foods will contribute its ConAgra Mills operations, which currently are part of its Commercial Foods reporting segment. Among other assets, this includes a network of 23 flour mills in the U.S., including Puerto Rico. Cargill and CHS will each contribute or make available their respective assets that today constitute Horizon Milling, a joint venture between the two companies formed in 2002. With respect to Horizon Milling, these assets include 21 flour mills, three bakery mix facilities and a specialty bakery, all in the U.S. and Canada.

faq icon

What becomes of Horizon Milling, the current flour milling joint venture between Cargill and CHS?

View answer
Horizon Milling was formed in 2002 as a joint venture between Cargill and CHS. A Canadian milling and mix business was added to the joint venture in 2006. Between now and the completion of the transaction, Horizon Milling will continue to serve customers and conduct business as it does today. At the formation of Ardent Mills, Cargill and CHS will each contribute or make available their respective assets that today constitute Horizon Milling.

Media Inquiries

For more information, contact:

Lori Fligge
Cargill
952.742.2275
lori_fligge@cargill.com

Lisa Clemens
Cargill
952.742.6405
lisa_clemens@cargill.com

Becky Niiya
ConAgra Foods
402.240.5312
becky.niiya@conagrafoods.com

Lani Jordan
CHS Inc.
651.355.4946
lani.jordan@chsinc.com

Terms of Use

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Duis porta dui non dolor imperdiet eu porttitor diam pretium. Aenean nisl massa, placerat sed tincidunt at, cursus sit amet enim. Maecenas nec blandit mauris. Nulla mi massa, rhoncus ac feugiat eu, ornare vel dolor. Duis ornare augue massa, vitae consectetur justo. Nam sagittis ipsum eu augue pulvinar id suscipit tellus egestas. Proin aliquam sagittis malesuada. Nulla ut commodo mauris. Duis mollis lorem in leo feugiat rhoncus. Pellentesque habitant morbi tristique senectus et netus et malesuada fames ac turpis egestas. Proin molestie urna justo, ac tempus libero.

Privacy Policy

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Duis porta dui non dolor imperdiet eu porttitor diam pretium. Aenean nisl massa, placerat sed tincidunt at, cursus sit amet enim. Maecenas nec blandit mauris. Nulla mi massa, rhoncus ac feugiat eu, ornare vel dolor. Duis ornare augue massa, vitae consectetur justo. Nam sagittis ipsum eu augue pulvinar id suscipit tellus egestas. Proin aliquam sagittis malesuada. Nulla ut commodo mauris. Duis mollis lorem in leo feugiat rhoncus. Pellentesque habitant morbi tristique senectus et netus et malesuada fames ac turpis egestas. Proin molestie urna justo, ac tempus libero.

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 ConAgra Mills®

ConAgra Mills is a food ingredients brand of ConAgra Foods, Inc. ConAgra Mills offers the most comprehensive selection of premium multi-use flours and whole grains in the industry-including Ultragrain®, the 100 percent natural whole wheat flour with the taste, texture and appearance most like white flour, Sustagrain®, high-fiber barley and a line of ConAgra Mills Ancient Grain flours, which are helping to meet growing consumer demand for healthier ingredients. For more information, please visit www.conagramills.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 www.cargill.com.

About CHS

CHS Inc. (www.chsinc.com) 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.

About Horizon Milling, LLC

A leading U.S. flour miller, Horizon Milling, LLC is a joint venture between CHS Inc. (www.chsinc.com) and Cargill, Incorporated. Horizon Milling combines the expertise of a global food ingredients manufacturer with the supply assurance capabilities of a national, farmer-owned cooperative to provide customers with innovative, flour-related product and service solutions. For more information, visit http://www.horizonmilling.com.

About Horizon Milling, G.P.

A leading Canadian flour miller, Horizon Milling G.P. is a joint venture between CHS Inc. (www.chsinc.com) and Cargill. Horizon Milling combines the expertise of a global food ingredients manufacturer with the supply assurance capabilities of a national, farmer-owned cooperative to provide customers with innovative, flour-related product and service solutions. For more information, visit www.horizonmilling.com.

Dan Dye

Dan DyeDan Dye was named president of Horizon Milling, a Cargill Joint Venture with CHS, in 2009. Dye is responsible for the flour milling, mix and bakery operations of Horizon Milling in the U.S. and Canada, offering wheat and flour products and solutions for a wide range of ingredient applications.

Since joining Cargill in 1981, Dye has held various merchandising and managerial positions within Cargill's grain business in the U.S. and Canada. He was appointed an assistant vice president of Cargill, Ltd. in Canada in 1990 and of Cargill's grain division in 1992. In 1995, he was named vice president of its North American grain business. Prior to his current role, Dye served for 10 years as president of Cargill AgHorizons, U.S., and was responsible for the overall management of Cargill's grain handling and retail crop input business in the U.S. delivering value-added solutions to farmer customers.

Dye currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Agriculture Future of America, the Executive Committee of the North American Millers' Association, and the Board of Trustees of the Grain Foods Foundation. He serves on the Board of Trustees of Bethel University, St. Paul, Minn., where he is also an adjunct professor in the MBA program, teaching Values Based Leadership. Dye graduated from Bethel University in 1981 with a bachelor's degree in business administration and economics.

Bill Stoufer

Bill StouferBill Stoufer was named president of ConAgra Mills in 2010. As senior executive officer for the Mills business, Bill has oversight of both milling operations for the domestic mills as well as Molinos de Puerto Rico, ConAgra Mills' Puerto Rican milling operations.

In his 20+ years with ConAgra Mills, Bill has served as a leader within several functions, including Supply Chain, Sales, and Transportation & Logistics, respectively. Most recently, Bill was vice president, Supply Chain for ConAgra Mills. During his tenure in this role, he oversaw Customer Operations, Non Wheat procurement, and Transportation and Logistics. Bill also implemented project management in ConAgra Mills to drive accountability and speed to market for innovative new products or services. Additionally, Bill had responsibility for driving sustainable change in business operations and process which maximized value for ConAgra Foods' shareholders.

In addition, Bill has served in a succession of Sales-related roles, most recently as vice president, Sales (ConAgra Mills). Prior to moving into Sales, Bill served in several transportation & logistics-related roles, including director, Transportation & Logistics (ConAgra Mills). Bill holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Transportation & Logistics from Iowa State University.

Disclaimer:

The information on this website relates to a pending transaction between ConAgra Foods, Cargill and CHS Inc. This transaction is subject to various closing conditions and there can be no assurance that it will be consummated. This website may also include forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These forward-looking statements are based on the parties' current expectations and they include, among others, statements regarding the operations, expected synergies and benefits of the contemplated transaction. The potential transaction may not be consummated, and there are a number of risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from any forward-looking statements made herein. These risks and uncertainties include the timing to consummate the contemplated transaction, the ability and timing to obtain required regulatory approvals and the conditions placed thereon, the parties' ability to realize the contemplated synergies, and those risks and uncertainties discussed in ConAgra Foods and CHS filings with the SEC. Investors and security holders are cautioned not to place undue reliance on any forward-looking statements. None of the parties undertakes any obligation to update any statements on this website.