Olam, a leading agri-business company operating in 70 countries, is building its first U.S. manufacturing site. The company is establishing 183,000-square-foot a cocoa powder manufacturing facility in Illinois.
Global commodities trader Olam International Ltd is building a cocoa powder manufacturing facility outside Chicago, Reuters said. The plant marks the latest step in the transformation of the large Singapore-based cocoa trader into a bean processing heavyweight. In 2015, Olam scooped up the cocoa assets of rival Archer Daniels Midland Co for about $1.2 billion.
“Olam is building the nearly 183,000-square-foot facility which is expected to be fully operational by mid-2018, said Matt Eastman, a planning and zoning administrator for Bolingbrook, Illinois, where the plant will be located.” Reuters reported. Olam sources beans in Africa, Asia and South America and processes about 700,000 tonnes of cocoa powder, liquor and butter in 12 facilities worldwide. That represents a notable chunk of a global grind of 4.3 million tonnes in the 2016/17 crop year, according to International Cocoa Organization data. Olam acquired eight cocoa processing facilities from ADM with the 2015 purchase. It sells into North American and European markets from processing facilities in Canada, Germany, Spain, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom.
Cocoa powder is used in food products like cookies, ice cream and snack bars. Processing margins have risen as cocoa prices have tumbled for two straight years on excess supply.