ADM opens Shanghai innovation center, strikes deal in Brazil

DECATUR — Archer Daniels Midland in separate announcements Thursday said the company is opening a regional innovation center in Asia and acquiring South American oilseed operations.

The Chicago-based food processing company, which has its North American headquarters in Decatur, said the Shanghai, China​, center houses food scientists, flavorists and sales, marketing and regulatory personnel. It will “enable ADM to work closely with customers to create complete flavor and specialty ingredient solutions,” the company said in a statement. 

“With today’s busy lifestyles, people are turning to healthier eating habits, accelerating changes in consumer tastes and preferences at an unprecedented rate. For ADM, Shanghai has played a critical role in our continued growth and innovation. To help Asia-Pacific food and beverage customers remain a step ahead, we’re excited to leverage our technology, expertise and global scale,” said Donald Chen, ADM’s president, Asia, in the statement.

China is home to about 675 ADM employees​ in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and other cities.

The oilseed agreement is with Brazil-based Algar Agro. ADM will purchase certain assets, including processing facilities.

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ADM’s current oilseeds operations in Brazil include soy processing plants in Rondonópolis, Campo Grande, Ipameri, Joaçaba and Uberlândia; a sunflower plant in Campo Novo dos Parecis; biodiesel refineries in Rondonópolis and Joaçaba; and a network of storage facilities.

“Demand for meal and bottled oil in the northeast and southeast regions of Brazil continues to grow, and we are excited to expand our capabilities there,” said Domingo Lastra, ADM’s president, South America, in a statement.

ADM last month reported second-quarter earnings of $566 million. The company is Decatur’s largest employer, with more than 4,000 workers.