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Posted on  

September 9, 2002

Justice Department Allows ADM to Buy MCP

--From Agweb.com--

It appears that Illinois-based Archer Daniels Midland is about to increase its market share in the domestic ethanol market in the United States. ADM is already the largest ethanol producer in the nation, and now the Department of Justice has given the company conditional approval in a planned buyout of Minnesota Corn Processors LLC.

The privately held company is the nation's number 2 producers of ethanol. The Justice Department values the deal at $634 million. According to the Renewable Fuels Association, ADM's ethanol capacity is 950 million gallons per year, while MCP has a capacity of 140 million gallons a year. The RFA estimates total U.S. ethanol production capacity at 2.98 billion gallons per year.

The DOJ's Antitrust division was looking into the deal, and as part of the conditional approval, it is telling ADM that it will have to sell off a joint venture that MCP has with Corn Products International. Currently, ADM competes with four other firms to sell corn syrup and high fructose corn syrup in the United States and Canada.

"The dissolution of the MCP/CPI joint venture will ensure that purchasers of corn syrup and high fructose corn syrup continue to receive the benefits of competition -- lower prices," said Charles A. James, Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Department's Antitrust Division.

The DOJ reports that together, ADM and the MCP/CPI joint venture would have accounted for a large share of the corn syrup and high fructose corn syrup markets.

The proposed consent decree requires ADM and MCP to give notice to CPI to dissolve the joint venture, allowing CPI immediately to compete independently of the merged ADM/MCP. Dissolution of the joint venture must be completed by December 31, 2002. The decree does not alter any of the joint venture's obligations to customers from preexisting contracts or commitments.

The final deal must also be approved by a federal district court in Washington D.C. Some in Congress have raised concerns about ADM's increased market share in the ethanol industry as a result of the buyout of MCP.



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