Argentine flour and baked goods producer Molino Cañuelas SACIFIA has confirmed the acquisition of Cargill's wheat flour division, its main competitor in the market.

The sale takes in the whole process from wheat growing to processing and distribution, including the mills Cargill owned in the provinces of Buenos Aires, La Pampa, Santa Fe and Chaco. 

Molino Cañuelas is one of the leading flour producers in the country, through its brand Pureza, one of the main competitors for Cargill brands Favorita and Blanca Flo. Sources said the Cargill brands were not included in the sale agreement. 

If the operation is approved by regulatory authorities in Argentina, Molino Cañuelas will account for 24% of Argentina's wheat flour market, sources said. 

Molino Cañuelas has absorbed the whole staff involved exclusively in the Cargill division, except for some key workers the US group aims to retain, the sources said. The companies were not able to divulge the amount of personnel involved or the investment.

Cargill's decision to sell the wheat flour business followed a comprehensive review of the company's overall product portfolio. "That review concluded that the best prospects for growth for such wheat flour business would be under the ownership of Molino Cañuelas, one of the Argentine leading agribusinesses companies," Cargill said.

Aldo Navilli, president of Molino Cañuelas, said the deal would help the company open new markets, including in the Mercosur trading bloc and the Andean coast, as well as Central America and África.