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ADM Closing North Dakota Ethanol Plant, Citing Location

DOW JONES NEWSWIRES Archer Daniels Midland Co. (ADM) will close a North Dakota ethanol plant in April, the company said Monday. ADM is closing the plant, in Walhalla, N.D., "because its geographic location and scale made it difficult to compete in the marketplace," the company said in a statement. It said returns at the plant weren't sufficient. The plant had an annual capacity of 30 million gallons per year, a small amount versus the 1.72 billion gallons of capacity the company will continue to have after the closure. The closure will affect 61 employees. ADM said it will offer severance packages and that employees may have opportunities to apply for jobs at other company facilities. ADM announced in January it would cut about 1,000 employees, or about 3% of its workforce. ADM and other grain merchandisers have struggled in recent months with poor oilseed processing margins and volatile markets. CEO Patricia Woertz also noted in an earnings conference call last week that ethanol margins have struggled recently amid excess supplies, although the company signaled that it didn't plan significant production cuts in response. Closure of the plant won't affect ADM's ability to serve customers, the company said. ADM shares were recently down 0.5% to $29.41 a share. -By Ian Berry, Dow Jones Newswires' 312-750-4072; ian.berry@dowjones.com

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