Cargill Inc is in the final stages to buy Archer Daniels Midland Co’s (ADM) cocoa business, according to sources.
News agency Reuters has reported that the two companies are close to signing a deal that sources say is worth an estimated $2bn.
Creating what Reuters has described as “a price-setting global giant”, the union of two of the world’s leading cocoa merchants and bean grinders would generate a company “big enough to compete with Zurich-based Barry Callebaut”.
Sources say that Cargill and ADM are finalising details of a deal, which would make the industry dominated by two firms.
Addressing the story, Louis de Schorlemer, communications manager of corporate affairs EMEA at Cargill, said: “At any one time Cargill is assessing a number of initiatives to progress its business strategy. It is our policy that we will communicate as and when there is anything definitive. We do not comment on rumours or speculation.”
Elissa Igleheart Bertot, communications manager for Europe, Africa and Asia at ADM confirmed that the company was currently in discussions about the potential sale of their cocoa business. She added: “These discussions are ongoing, and there can be no assurance that they will result in the signing of a transaction or definitive agreement.”
She concluded that further communication would be made if appropriate. An official statement has not been released from either company.
According to a United Nations report on the global cocoa industry, 2008, ADM, Cargill and Barry Callebaut make up as much as 40% of the world cocoa bean grinding capacity.
In June this year ADM placed its cocoa division up for sale after a 24% fall in profits in 2012 to $183m.