ADM acquisition of MCP conditionally approved

By | September 01, 2002
Archer Daniels Midland Co. (ADM) won federal approval this month to proceed with its highly anticipated - and publicized - $396 million acquisition of Minnesota Corn Processors after a joint venture involving a high fructose corn syrup competitor is dissolved.

The U.S. Justice Department's antitrust division filed a proposed consent decree in early September, approving the deal if MCP's joint venture with Corn Products International Inc. (CPI) is dissolved by Dec. 31. The joint venture is one of four firms competing with ADM to sell corn syrup and high fructose corn syrup in the United States and Canada.

Assistant U.S. Attorney General Charles James said the dissolution of the CPI venture "will ensure that purchasers of corn syrup and high fructose corn syrup continue to receive the benefits of competition: lower prices."

The farmer-owners of MCP, the second largest U.S. ethanol producer behind ADM, approved the sale on Sept 5. Decatur-based ADM agreed in July to pay shareholders of MCP $2.90 a share, or $396 million. ADM already owned a 30 percent interest in MCP and agreed to assume debts of $240 million. ADM is acquiring MCP's corn wet-milling plants in Marshall (40 mmgy) and in Columbus, Neb (100 mmgy).

According to MCP executive Dan Thompson, about 81 percent of the 5,000 farmers who owned stakes in MCP voted to accept ADM's offer. The transaction will increase the company's share of the nation's ethanol market to 46 percent from 40 percent, analysts say.

"The combination of the MCP plants with the existing corn processing facilities of ADM will provide additional operational efficiencies and better position ADM to serve the corn sweeteners, other corn products and expanding ethanol markets," said Paul Mulhollem, ADM's president and chief operating officer.

Subsequent to the acquisition, ADM will be forced to lay off about 110 employees at MCP's headquarters, whose jobs would have been duplicated at ADM's headquarters in Decatur.