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US poultry giant agrees fine on price-fixing

Chicken producer Pilgrim’s Pride is set to pay a $110.5 million (£85.3m) fine after agreeing a plea with the US Department of Justice, following an investigation into price-fixing.

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Pilgrim’s Pride is one of the largest chicken producers in the US. Getty images.
Pilgrim’s Pride is one of the largest chicken producers in the US. Getty images.
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US poultry giant agrees fine on price-fixing

The company, a division of JBS USA, is one of the largest chicken producers in the US.

The global corporation also owns UK-based Moy Park and Tulip.

Pilgrim’s Pride announced it had entered into a plea agreement with the United States Department of Justice Antitrust Division last week (October 14).

The company said it had agreed to the fine for ‘restraint of competition’ in chicken sales in three contracts to a customer.

The plea was subject to the approval of the United States District Court of Colorado.

Pilgrim’s and the Antitrust Division accepted the fine of $110,524,140 (£85,317,452).

The deal meant the Antitrust Division would bring no further charges against the producer and the business would not be subject to monitoring, any restitution or a probationary period provided the company complies with the terms and conditions.


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Pilgrim’s expects to record the fine as a miscellaneous expense in its financial statements in the third quarter of 2020.

In June, prosecutors indicted then president and chief executive Jayson Penn and Roger Austin, former vice-president, on a price-fixing charge.

Two others from competitor Claxton Poultry were also accused of colluding from at least 2012 to 2017 to fix prices and rig bids for birds.

Committed

 

In a statement announcing the agreement, Fabio Sandri, Pigrim’s Pride chief executive said it was committed to fair and honest competition in compliance with US antitrust laws.

“We are encouraged that today’s agreement concludes the Antitrust Division’s investigation into Pilgrim’s, providing certainty regarding this matter to our team members, suppliers, customers and shareholders,” he added.

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