Pilgrim's Pride ready to pay $75 million for price-fixing settlement
Pilgrim's Pride announced that is willing to pay $75 million for price-fixing settlement in a case which involves some other major players in the American market, such as Tyson Foods, Sanderson Farms and Perdue Farms. The announcement came at the beginning of the week in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission. The proposed settlement, which must be approved by the court, would be the largest in a four-year legal battle over alleged collusion among the major chicken companies that dominate the $65 billion U.S. chicken industry. In October, Pilgrim’s agreed to pay a $110.5 million penalty in the Justice Department’s criminal price-fixing case. Lawsuits filed individually by major supermarket and restaurant chains remain outstanding, the company said, according to Drovers magazine.
"While Pilgrim’s does not admit any liability for the claims alleged in the 'Broiler Antitrust Civil Litigation,' it believes a settlement was in the best interests of the company and its shareholders," the company said in a press release.
Last year the US Department of Justice filed criminal price-fixing and bid-rigging charges against 10 poultry-industry executives, including two former chief executives of Pilgrim’s. The defendants have pleaded not guilty. Other price-fixing allegations have been made in lawsuits involving the beef and pork processing industries. In the criminal complaint, the Justice Department has alleged that senior chicken-industry executives exchanged details of prices they planned to submit to major fast-food chains, sharing details on competitor’s activity through text messages and phone calls.
Pilgrim’s Pride, which produces 20% of U.S. chicken, has 37,000 employees and reported $10.7 billion in 2017 revenue. JBS USA Holdings owns 78% of Pilgrim’s Pride.
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