PARIS, FRANCE — In the largest transaction of its kind in Cargill’s 137 year history, the company has purchased Montedison’s 56% shareholding in Cerestar, the global manufacturer of starches, sweeteners and derivatives. Cargill will now file a public tender offer for the remaining 44% shareholding held publicly, at 33€ a share. The public tender offer will begin in the near future following approval by relevant stock market authorities.

The merged businesses will create a strong global presence: Cerestar is weak in the U.S., where Cargill leads the market. Conversely, Cerestar has 12 plants in Europe against Cargill’s two, as well as a 300,000 tonne starch plant in China, where Cargill has only a feed mill.

The board of directors will be headed up by Pierre Moraillon, who has been chairman and chief executive officer of Cerestar since October 2001. He heads a staff of 4,000 people spread over 17 sites, 12 in Europe, three in the U.S. and one each in China and Turkey. E-Archive #52837