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ADM, seeking global HQ, visits Minnesota: state official

By Tom Polansek

CHICAGO (Reuters) - Archer Daniels Midland Co met with Minnesota officials to discuss moving the agricultural trading house's global headquarters to the state from Illinois, a Minnesota official said on Tuesday.

An ADM "site selection team" met with officials from Minnesota's Department of Employment and Economic Development in St. Paul, Minnesota, on Monday, said Madeline Koch, director of communications for the agency.

"We're just aggressively pursuing a deal," she said.

ADM, one of four companies that dominate the flow of agricultural goods around the world, said on Sep. 23 that it was considering locations for a new corporate headquarters that would improve access to transportation and help attract employees. The company has had the largest corporate presence in the central Illinois city of Decatur for the past 44 years.

ADM plans to move about 100 existing jobs to the new headquarters, create a technology center there, and add about 100 new jobs over several years. About 4,400 employees will continue to work in Decatur, which will become ADM's North American headquarters.

Company executives have said they want to keep the headquarters in Illinois, mostly likely in Chicago. City officials have talked with ADM about a move, and Chicago's O'Hare International Airport is considered a big draw.

However, ADM is keeping its options open, Chief Communications Officer Victoria Podesta said on Tuesday.

"We had said we would be talking with public officials and we are," she said when asked about the Minnesota meeting. She declined to elaborate.

To stay in Illinois, ADM has asked state lawmakers for legislation that would allow the company to apply for income tax incentives worth about $1.2 million a year for the next 15 to 20 years.

Some legislators have bristled at the idea of paying ADM to move jobs from one part of Illinois to another. And Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn last week said he was opposed to giving ADM tax incentives until legislators address the state's pension problems.

(Reporting by Tom Polansek; Editing by Richard Chang)

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