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updated: 9/24/2013 10:28 AM

Archer-Daniels-Midland looking to move longtime headquarters

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Associated Press

Agribusiness giant Archer Daniel Midland Company said Monday that after spending 44 years in the small Illinois city of Decatur, it is looking for a new location for its headquarters with better access to its global customers. Chicago officials said the city is among the candidates.

ADM said it is already considering a list of potential locations for what it's calling its new global headquarters, but doesn't plan to publicly discuss where it could be headed or how long it will take to make the decision.

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But the company also said it doesn't plan any layoffs and will keep a workforce of 4,400 in Decatur, which also will become ADM's North American headquarters. The company has extensive operations in the city, which is about 180 miles southwest of Chicago, and is its largest employer.

"Our company is growing and becoming more global and more customer-centric," CEO Patricia Woertz said. "To continue to succeed, we need a global center in a location that allows us to travel and work efficiently with customers and employees throughout the world. We also need an environment where we can attract and retain employees with diverse skills, and where family members can find ample career opportunities."

The new headquarters would have about 100 employees, ADM said in in a new release. It would also be home to a new IT center that would add another 100 new employees over the next several years.

ADM has about 30,000 employees around the world. The company, which is No. 27 on the Fortune 500 list, processes corn, soybeans and a range of other crops to make everything from animal feed to ethanol and food additives.

Tom Alexander, a spokesman for the City of Chicago, confirmed that the city has talked with ADM and is a candidate.

"This is a dynamic, global company that is a leader in a key industry, and we believe that they are a good fit with what Chicago has to offer," he said. "We'll do our best to keep them in Illinois."

ADM has talked off and on for years about the need for a headquarters with easier access to the world beyond central Illinois, company spokeswoman Victoria Podesta said. Decatur's small airport lacks commercial flights, and the other airports within 90 minutes of Decatur offer only connections to larger airports.

During the company's proposed acquisition of the Australian company Graincorp, ADM decided to go ahead with the plan, Podesta said.

"Decatur doesn't have an international airport," she said. "If you're trying to get to Australia to have a meeting ... it adds to your trip."

The company, she said, let local officials in Decatur know of its plans in the past few days.

Messages left by The Associated Press with city officials in Decatur were not immediately returned.

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