Judge makes rules in favor of US purchases of Imperial sugar, dismisses antitrust concerns

© Reuters.

By Diane Bartz

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A U.S. judge on Friday ruled in favor of US Sugar Corp’s plan to buy rival Imperial Sugar Co, rejecting the Justice Department’s argument that the proposed deal would raise prices. sugar for households as well as food and soft drinks. producers.

The Justice Department said in a lawsuit filed last November that the $315 million settlement would bring US Sugar, the owner and member of a cooperative with three other companies, and American Sugar Refining, which sells under the Domino brand, accounts for about 75% of refined sugar sales. in the southeastern United States.

US Sugar said in a statement that it was “satisfied” with the decision. The Justice Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment. It is possible to appeal the loss.

Judge Maryellen Noreika of the U.S. District Court for Delaware issued the comments under seal and said an edited version would be available.

The government, which calls US Sugar “the world’s largest vertically integrated cane sugar mill and refiner”, argues that the deal will lead to higher sugar prices in the southeastern US, copper The Times said the two companies often compete for contracts from companies that make beverages, snacks and other prepared foods.

The companies thought that the road was easy to transport, so it was a mistake to limit the market to the southeast. They also consider Imperial to be a high-priced competitor, buying raw sugar for refining and not competing to lower prices.

They also argue that the US Department of Agriculture monitors sugar prices and can increase imports if needed to deal with price increases.

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