Judge rejects Justice Dept.’s bid to stop sugar merger
WASHINGTON — A federal judge has rejected the Justice Department’s bid to block a major U.S. sugar manufacturer from acquiring its rival, clearing the way for the acquisition to proceed.
Friday’s ruling by a federal judge in Wilmington was handed down by the Justice Department. The Justice Department had sued to stop the deal between U.S. Sugar Company and Imperial Sugar Company, the largest sugar refiners of the country. The government had argued that allowing the acquisition to go through would be harmful to consumers and anticompetitive.
U.S. The acquisition will increase sugar production and distribution and provide a safer supply.
The Justice Department lost a battle as it pushed forward with aggressive enforcement federal antitrust laws. Officials claim that the goal is to create a fair and competitive marketplace. The Justice Department could appeal and stated that it was reviewing the ruling.
“We are disappointed that the court did not block this merger. It would have combined the world’s largest sugarcane refiner with one its primary competitors in Southeastern United States, increasing reliance on foreign imports. “Further consolidation in the market for this important kitchen staple will have real-world consequences for millions of Americans.”
U.S. Sugar said in a statement that it was “pleased that today’s court ruling will allow our acquisition of Imperial Sugar to proceed as planned, enabling us to increase our sugar production, enhance the local Georgia economy and benefit our employees and customers.”
The Justice Department has said U.S. Sugar, which operates a large refinery in Florida, sells all of its sugar through a marketing cooperative known as the United Sugars Corporation. The two sugar transfer and liquidation facilities that Imperial Sugar has in place are a Savannah, Georgia refinery and one in Ludlow (Kentucky).
The acquisition was announced in March by the companies, stating that it would bring Imperial Sugar back to all-American ownership. Louis Dreyfus Company is the Netherlands’ subsidiary for Imperial Sugar. According to the Justice Department, Imperial Sugar’s revenues exceeded $700 millions in 2020..
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