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ADM sells cocoa business for $1.3 billion

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Archer Daniels Midland Co. has agreed to sell its global cocoa operations to Olam International Ltd. for $1.3 billion.

Olam is expected to hire most of ADM’s 1,500 workers involved in the cocoa business. The deal includes processing plants on several continents as well as the deZaan and UNICAO brands.

“This transaction will allow us to redeploy capital to investments that offer improved returns potential and less volatility than the cocoa business, or distribute excess capital to shareholders, or a combination of both,” chairman and CEO Patricia Woertz said in announcing the deal late Monday.

The companies expect to complete the sale in the second quarter of 2015.

ADM said the Olam deal will not affect the pending sale of ADM’s chocolate business to Cargill for $440 million.

Singapore-based Olam is a $19 billion company that supplies food and raw industrial materials worldwide.