ADM says it's not bidding for Unilever's spreads business

A worker scans barcodes by a chiller cabinet of Flora margarine at a Sainsbury's supermarket in London February 6, 2008. Flora is a brand owned by consumer products company Unilever. REUTERS/Luke MacGregor

CHICAGO (Reuters) - U.S. agricultural trader Archer Daniels Midland Co ADM.N on Monday denied a report that it was bidding on Unilever Plc's ULVR.L spreads business, which includes Flora and Stork margarines.

British newspaper the Times had reported that ADM was planning to make a move for part of the Unilever unit. ADM said in a statement that it was not submitting a bid.

ADM and its rivals have been investing in higher-margin businesses such as food ingredients and natural flavorings to prop up slumping results from core grain trading and processing operations. Strong margins in sweeteners and starches helped prop up ADM’s second-quarter earnings.

Shares of ADM were up 0.4 percent at $42.67 in midday trading.

Reporting by Mark Weinraub; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn