ADM cleared for purchase of cocoa, chocolate maker

by Eric Schroeder
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BRUSSELS, BELGIUM — The European Commission on May 27 cleared Archer Daniels Midland Co.’s proposed acquisition of Schokinag-Schokolade-Industrie Herrmann GmbH & Co. KG, one of Europe’s largest producers of chocolate and cocoa powder.

"After examining the operation, the Commission concluded that the transaction would not significantly impede effective competition in the European Economic Area or any substantial part of it," the E.C. noted.

As part of its investigation, the E.C. examined the competitive aspects of the proposed merger and found the two companies are not close competitors with respect to the range and types of products they offer. In addition, the investigation found a number of effective competitors were supplying the relevant products.

The acquisition continues ADM’s efforts to expand its global cocoa and chocolate presence. The company in 2006 acquired the assets of U.K.-based Classic Couverture Ltd. and more recently opened a cocoa and chocolate manufacturing plant in Hazleton, Pa., and is completing a new cocoa processing facility in Kumasi, Ghana. Headquartered in Mannheim, Germany, Schokinag manufactures products in Mannheim and Manage, Belgium, and has sales offices in Ludlow, U.K., and Bakersfield, Calif.

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