U.S. grain trader Archer Daniels Midland Co (ADM) is preparing to restructure specific areas of its business, but does not consider a sale of grain handling business, Reuters reports. The process will seek voluntary early retirements by some North American employees and may eliminate individual jobs.
The actions are needed to strengthen ADM’s core business and establish the company as a global leader in nutrition, the company said in a statement.
The voluntary early retirements are among a range of actions ADM is taking between now and June 30 to improve productivity, growth and service to customers, according to the company.
ADM spokesperson Jackie Anderson told Reuters: “Contrary to rumors, we are not considering a sale of our grain handling business,” she said but declined to reveal how many employees were being targeted for retirement.
ADM expects the number of workers whose jobs are eliminated to be a very small percentage of its global workforce, Anderson said. The company, which had 31,600 full-time employees as of December 31, will try to find other roles for those workers, she said.
Chicago-based ADM said it will be realigning its “organization worldwide as we further streamline and standardize processes, implement new technologies and eliminate overlap in roles and responsibilities.”
The company has been trying to sell two U.S. dry ethanol mills since 2016.
ADM Chief Executive Juan Luciano told Reuters in January the company was pursuing growth in its nutrition business through smaller acquisitions and potential joint ventures in agricultural processing and other areas.
The company’s nutrition unit manufactures, sells and distributes natural flavor ingredients and other specialty products. The segment posted an operating profit of USD339m last year, compared to USD546m for its origination business, which includes grain handling.
ADM makes money trading, processing and transporting crops, such as corn, soybeans and wheat. It competes against other merchants in the so-called “ABCD” group of traders, which also includes Bunge Ltd, Cargill Inc and Louis Dreyfus Co.
Such companies have been rattled by the trade war between Washington and Beijing, which has reduced shipments of American farm products to China. In recent years, a global glut of crops also hurt agricultural companies and accelerated consolidation in the sector.