Ardent Mills expands with acquisition in Canada

by World Grain Staff
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DENVER, COLORADO, U.S. — Ardent Mills LLC on Aug. 20 announced it has reached an agreement to acquire the Mississauga, Ontario, Canada flour mill of Mondelez International, Inc. Terms of the transaction, which Ardent Mills said is expected to close in coming weeks, were not disclosed.

The Mississauga mill has daily capacity to produce 8,500 cwts of flour, milled from soft wheat and hard wheat. The facility has wheat storage totaling 1,900,000 bushels. Mississauga is located just outside of Toronto and is about a 90-mile drive from Buffalo, New York, U.S.

The acquisition by Ardent Mills would be the company’s first since the business was established in May 2014 as a joint venture encompassing the flour milling assets of Cargill; ConAgra Foods, Inc.; and CHS, Inc.

“Acquiring this mill is consistent with our strategies for growth and our desire to help our customers win,” said Dan Dye, chief executive officer of Ardent. “They have a strong team in place at the mill, with a passion for the craft of milling. We are excited about this mill’s future, and we’re confident we can leverage our innovation and supply chain capabilities, after the transaction closes.”

In addition to supplying flour to Mondelez Canada, the mill supplies flour to baking plants in Canada and other food manufacturing customers, Ardent Mills said. The company said the team of 30-plus in place at the Mississauga mill is expected to join Ardent Mills when the transaction closes.

Speaking with World Grain’s sister publication, Milling & Baking News, Bill Stoufer, chief operating officer, Ardent Mills, described the mill as a “great fit.”

“The mill has been modernized over time — Mondelez has done an excellent job of taking care of it,” he said. “There is a great team working at the facility, and we’re confident it will be an excellent cultural fit. When we looked at the Ardent Mills geographic footprint in Canada, we concluded we were missing out on the opportunity to expand our business in Ontario, Canada because we did not have a mill there. It is a great strategic fit, with such a large percentage of Canada’s population in the Toronto area.”

Roughly 17% of Canada’s population resides in the metropolitan Toronto area.
Ardent Mills also has flour milling operations in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada. (1,700 miles west of Toronto) and Montreal, Canada (340 miles east) as well as a bakery mix facility in Burlington (just west of Mississauga) and an administrative/sales office in Brampton, Ontario, Canada. (also just outside Mississauga).

Ardent Mills is by far the largest flour milling company in the U.S. but is the third largest in Canada, according to the Grain & Milling Annual published by Sosland Publishing Co. Following completion of the transaction, Ardent Mills will have daily milling capacity in Canada of 39,000 cwts. Other major milling companies in Canada are ADM Milling Co., with daily capacity of 75,200 cwts and P&H Milling Group with 54,500 cwts of daily milling capacity.

With the acquisition, Ardent Mills will have a supply agreement with Mondelez Canada, but the companies declined to offer further details of the arrangement. While the Mississauga mill is located in a position to supply customers in the U.S. as well as Canada, Ardent Mills’ principal focus will be north of the border, Stoufer said.

“We looked at this acquisition as a strategic fit for the Canadian market,” he said. “If it would work for U.S. customers, we would look at that opportunity. Our bigger focus is in the greater Toronto metropolitan area and the fit within the Canadian footprint of Ardent Mills.”

Stoufer said the transaction also offers a glimpse into the strategic expansion objectives of Ardent Mills.

“This shows we are committed to continuing to make wise capital investments to grow our business,” he said.
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