Merger creates No. 1 flour mill
Ardent Mills, a joint venture by ConAgra Mills, Cargill and CHS, is now the nation's largest flour milling company.
The new company announced that it began operating Thursday, following approval by the U.S. Justice Department after Arden agreed to sell four mills to avoid antitrust problems.
Ardent Mills has 40 flour mills, three bakery mix facilities and a specialty bakery in the United States, Puerto Rico and Canada.
The merger comes just two weeks after the Chattanooga-based Milner Milling merged with Cereal Food Processors to create the third-largest flour milling company in America. That combined company, known as Grain Craft, is headquartered in Chattanooga.
Mortgage rates drop further
Average U.S. rates on fixed mortgages fell this week for a fifth straight week. The spring home-buying season has started slowly, but it may be aided by the low rates.
Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac said Thursday the average rate for a 30-year loan edged down to 4.12 percent from 4.14 percent last week. The average for the 15-year mortgage declined to 3.21 percent from 3.25 percent.