Cargill to Sell Retail Business to Agrium

July 6, 2016 12:23 PM

Cargill Inc., the giant U.S. agricultural producer and merchant, is selling a string of farm retail stores in the Corn Belt to Agrium Inc. as it focuses on its core grain trading operations.

The sale comprises 18 outlets with a combined annual revenue of more than $150 million, Calgary-based Agrium said Wednesday in a statement. No price for the sale was given.

“Cargill will focus on being the world’s leading merchant of grain and oilseeds,” Roger Watchorn, group leader of Minneapolis-based Cargill’s North American agricultural supply chain, said in the statement.

The Agrium deal follows at least nine other announced or reported divestments by Cargill in the past two years, according to data compiled by Bloomberg, as Chief Executive Officer David MacLennan reorganizes the company. Archer-Daniels-Midland Co. and Bunge Ltd., rival U.S. commodity traders and processors, have also been reviewing their businesses as lower commodity prices squeeze margins.

Cargill is the largest closely held U.S. company. It still has a diverse range of businesses, from cattle slaughtering to the mining of deicing salt and the production of fish feed. Other recent asset sales by Cargill have included its U.S. pork operations, which were purchased by Brazil’s JBS SA, its dressings and mayonnaise unit and its crop-insurance business.

Agrium, the largest U.S. farm retailer, is buying Cargill outlets in Nebraska, South Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan and Indiana.

"This acquisition demonstrates our continued focus on growing our North American Ag-retail business, particularly in the highly desirable U.S. Corn Belt," Agrium CEO Chuck Magro said in the statement. "The locations are in regions where we currently have a limited presence."

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