The European Commission has granted conditional clearance for the $440m (£226.4m) Cargill acquisition of Archer Daniels Midland’s cocoa business in Europe.

After closing of the transaction, three chocolate, compound and liquor production sites in North America and three chocolate and compound production sites in Europe, including one in Liverpool will transfer to Cargill. The Ambrosia, Merckens and Schokinag brands will also join Cargill’s existing portfolio of chocolate brands.

Addressing the European Commission’s competition concerns, however, Cargill has agreed to divest ADM’s industrial chocolate production facility in Mannheim, Germany. The facility will be kept as a separate entity with its own interim management until an agreement with a prospective buyer has been made.

Bryan Wurscher, president of Cargill Cocoa and Chocolate North America, said: “The acquisition underlines Cargill’s commitment to meeting our customers’ needs and constitutes a milestone for our chocolate growth strategy, strengthening our position as a leading player in the cocoa and chocolate industry.

“The new organisation will deepen our service to chocolate customers and expand our footprint and production capability significantly. Customers will benefit from a combined business with a broad range of high-quality cocoa and chocolate products for confectionery, bakery, dairy, and other applications.”

Jos de Loor, president of Cargill’s cocoa and chocolate business EMEA and Asia, added: “We are looking forward to bringing together people with a deep passion, experience and commitment to producing excellent chocolate in our extended chocolate operations.”

The transaction does not include the activities of ADM in semi-finished chocolate products, such as cocoa liquor, cocoa butter and cocoa powder - only industrial chocolate, as well as fat-based coatings and fillings.