ADM sells chocolate business to Cargill

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Archer Daniels Midland Co. has agreed to sell its global chocolate business to Cargill for $440 million.

A chocolate plant in Milwaukee is among the six manufacturing operations being sold. About 700 people are employed by the plants.

“As part of our ongoing portfolio management, we considered several options to strengthen the returns of this part of our business,” ADM chairman and CEO Patricia A. Woertz said in a news release Tuesday. “The sale of the chocolate business helps improve ADM’s returns and will allow us to redeploy capital for higher-return investments.”

When the sale is completed, probably in the first half of 2015, ADM said it will stop cocoa processing at a plant in Hazleton, Pennsylvania, a move that affects about 90 workers. ADM will continue cocoa processing in six countries.

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