Agribusiness giant Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) is in advanced talks to sell or turn its ethanol dry mills into a joint venture, reports Bloomberg.

The 118-year old agricultural commodities company was currently in negotiations with fewer than five interested parties, CEO Juan Luciano said in an interview on 8 January.

“We want to find either the right buyer or the right partner for these things, and at this point in time, we haven’t made that decision, but we are close,” he said.

“I wanted to make sure from the beginning of my tenure that we were going to focus on nutrition and food, not fuels,” Luciano said.

The American ethanol industry has been hit by lost demand due to the country’s trade war with China and record numbers of blending exemptions granted to oil refineries.

In 2016, the company put its ethanol assets up for sale before deciding to keep the business, Bloomberg said.

In October last year, it announced that it would create Vantage Corn Processors as its stand-alone ethanol subsidiary, effective 1 December.

Luciano said at the time that the subsidiary’s launch was an important step as the company continued to evaluate strategic alternatives for its dry mill facilities.

“Now if you are an interested party, you know exactly what you get, including all the side agreements that you have with ADM,” Luciano said. “Now the issue is we need to find the best deal, the deal that makes the best business sense for us.”