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ADM to sell crop insurance business to Validus

Posted On: Jan. 31, 2017 9:01 AM CST

ADM to sell crop insurance business to Validus

(Reuters) — U.S. agricultural commodities trader Archer Daniels Midland Co has agreed to sell its Crop Risk Services insurance business for $127.5 million to Validus Holdings Ltd., the companies announced on Monday.

The deal, which is expected to close in the first half of this year pending a regulatory review, includes a services agreement under which ADM will continue to offer insurance products and grain marketing services to CRS customers, the company said.

ADM said it expects to record a book gain upon closing.

The sale comes amid a commodities market downturn that has squeezed margins for ADM and other agribusinesses and prompted divestments of lower-margin and noncore businesses.

Rival Cargill Inc. sold its crop insurance unit in December 2015. ADM is in the process of selling its ethanol-producing corn dry mills amid persistently weak margins.

"We regularly evaluate our portfolio to ensure that our businesses and assets best fit our strategy to maximize long-term returns," said Joe Taets, president of ADM's Agricultural Services unit.

"As a result of that ongoing process, we have identified a better strategic fit for the Crop Risk Services business," he said.

ADM shares closed down 0.9% at $44.13 on Monday, a week ahead of the release of fourth-quarter results. Validus shares were down 0.7% percent at $56.51.