ConAgra Inc., the second largest U.S. food manufacturer, said last week it agreed to sell American Commercial Lines LLC
(ACL) its large U.S. inland barge fleet and operations. Financial terms of the deal, which ConAgra said was part of ongoing series of strategic divestments, were not announced. But ACL will acquire 930 owned and chartered barges, nine chartered towboats and one dry dock, the companies said in a joint statement. The deal includes Peavey Barge Lines, Brown Water Towing Inc. and Superior Barge Lines, Inc. The transaction is subject to regulatory approval but is expected to be completed in the next 30 days, they said.
Greg Heckman, president and CEO, ConAgra Trade Group
, said, "Our decision to sell the barge company is a strategic one. This will allow us to focus our efforts on supporting ConAgra and our customers in the areas of commodity origination, marketing, merchandising, trading and risk management services."
Omaha, Neb.-based ConAgra generates 20 percent of its $25 billion in annual sales from agricultural products. The remaining 80 percent derives from sales to food retail and foodservice customers. ConAgra has divested 16 businesses across the organization since mid-1999. Jeffersonville, Ind.-based ACL operates more than 4,300 barges and 200 towboats on the inland waterways of North and South America.