(Adds details on ADM, Bunge)
LONDON, July 11 A group of armed individuals has
occupied a Cargill Inc sunflower-seed crushing plant
in Ukraine's eastern Donetsk region after it was closed due to
the increased tensions in the area, the company said on Friday.
The agribusiness giant, one of the world's largest private
companies, said it stopped operations at the plant on July 4.
"We could not allow our employees to be put at risk, and
currently we have no employees on site. The plant has
subsequently been occupied by a small number of armed
individuals whose intentions are not clear to us," Cargill said
in an emailed statement.
"The plant plays an important role in the local and regional
economy, and we look forward to the situation normalizing so we
can resume our operations. We cannot predict when that will be."
Cargill, one of the leading sunflower seed crushers in
Ukraine, built the plant in 2000. The plant's annual crushing
capacity is 600,000 tonnes. Cargill said it is servicing its
customers via its other plants.
Archer Daniels Midland Co and Bunge Ltd said
they were operating normally in Ukraine and monitoring the
situation. Their facilities are located outside of the area
affected by political tensions, representatives of the companies
Still, Bunge has conducted additional safety, emergency and
evacuation training for employees in the region, spokeswoman
Susan Burns said.
ADM, Bunge and Cargill, along with Louis Dreyfus,
comprise a group of companies known as the "ABCD" that dominate
the flow of agricultural commodities around the world. Louis
Dreyfus could not immediately be reached for comment.
Sporadic violence has continued in eastern Ukraine.
Government forces have recently gained the upper hand in the
three-month conflict against separatists in the Russian-speaking
eastern regions in which more than 200 government troops have
been killed as well as hundreds of civilians and rebel fighters.
(Reporting by Sarah McFarlane and Jonathan Saul in London and
Tom Polansek in Chicago; Editing by David Evans and Jonathan