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ADM Says It Has Yet to Reach Deal on Sale of Cocoa Unit

Archer-Daniels-Midland Co., the world’s largest corn processor, said it has yet to reach an agreement to sell its cocoa unit and there’s no certainty of a deal involving all or part of the business.

The company determined for accounting purposes that the unit shouldn’t be classified as “held for sale” at the end of September, Decatur, Illinois-based ADM said in a Nov. 1 filing.

“As of the date of this report, no definitive sale agreement had been reached,” it said.

ADM said in June it was in exploratory talks with other parties about a potential sale. Stephens Inc. analyst Farha Aslam estimates the value of the cocoa division at $1.9 billion. Reuters reported Oct. 2 that U.S. commodity trader Cargill Inc. was finalizing the details of an acquisition of the unit.

The potential sale of the cocoa segment is part of ADM’s review of its business, which may include acquisitions as well as asset sales. ADM expects to close its A$2.23 billion ($2.12 billion) deal to buy Australian grain handler GrainCorp Ltd. in the first quarter of 2014, Chief Operating Officer Juan R. Luciano said during a conference call with analysts on Oct. 29. Previously, ADM said the deal was on track to close by year-end.

Jackie Anderson, an ADM spokeswoman, declined to comment on the possible sale of the cocoa unit beyond the company’s disclosures in the filing and on its Oct. 29 call.

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