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Cargill Gets Control of Cerestar

April 4, 2002

MINNETONKA, Minn. (AP) _ Cargill Inc. on Thursday purchased a 56 percent stake in Cerestar, a French company that processes corn and wheat into food ingredients such as high-fructose corn syrup, for $419 million.

The food company said it will file a public tender offer of $321 million for the remaining 44 percent of Cerestar shares. Cargill is also assuming $360 million of Cerestar’s debt.

Cargill’s purchase of shares from Montedison SpA of Italy was announced at a Cerestar board meeting in Paris, where Cerestar is based. Montedison is selling its food companies to focus on energy operations.

The U.S. Justice Department approved the plan a day earlier, clearing its last major regulatory hurdle. The European Union approved the deal in January.

Industry analysts estimate that Cerestar, Europe’s leading producer of starch and starch derivatives, has about 27 percent of the European starch market and that Cargill has about 7 percent.

The company would continue to face competition in Europe’s starch and wheat gluten markets from rivals such as Roquette of France, Britain’s Tate and Lyle and Agrana of Italy.

Minnetonka-based Cargill employs 90,000 people in 57 countries.

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