Farmland, Cenex Harvest States actively negotiating merger

by Teresa Acklin
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   KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI, U.S. — The boards of directors of Farmland Industries, Inc. and Cenex Harvest States Cooperatives, two large U.S. cooperatives, recently approved resolutions favoring a merger.

   "We see complete consolidation as an important step for our member-owners in the rapidly changing global marketplace," the chairmen of the cooperatives said in a joint statement.

   Farmland, based in Kansas City, and Harvest States, based in Inver Grove Heights, Minnesota, U.S., have adopted a timetable calling for completion of an extensive unification feasibility study, development of capital and governance plans and gaining government clearance by late 1999.

   Under the timetable, member information meetings would take place in early 2000 followed by a membership vote. If the various steps are completed successfully, a merger is envisaged in June 2000.

   Many details of the merger, including the company's new name and headquarters location, have yet to be determined. The boards have agreed that, for at least a while following the unification, the new organization will be led jointly by H.D. (Harry) Cleberg of Farmland and Noel Estenson of Cenex Harvest States.