A US judge has ruled in favour of US Sugar’s plans to buy rival Imperial Sugar, according to Reuters.
The ruling rejected a Justice Department argument that the proposed deal would increase the price of sugar for households as well as for food and soda producers.
In the lawsuit filed in November 2021, the Justice Department said that the $315 million deal would give some 75% of refined sugar sales in the US southeast to US Sugar, owner and member of a cooperative with three other companies, and American Sugar Refining, which sells under the Domino brand.
The government argued that US Sugar and Imperial Sugar often compete to win contracts from manufacturers, and that the deal would therefore lead to higher sugar prices in the region.
The companies countered that sugar was easy to transport and that restricting the market to the southeast was therefore a mistake. They also argued that Imperial Sugar is a high-priced competitor that purchases raw sugar to refine and does not compete to lower prices.
US Sugar said in a statement that it was “pleased” with the ruling made by the judge on Friday.
“As an employee and charity-owned company, this acquisition will be good for our current and future employees. We look forward to proceeding as planned with this acquisition, which will enable us to increase our domestic sugar production, enhance the local Georgia economy, decrease US reliance on foreign imports of sugar, and benefit farmers, customers and consumers across the country,” added president and CEO, Robert Buker.
The Justice Department, which can appeal the loss, said it was reviewing its options and that it was “disappointed” by the decision.
© FoodBev Media Ltd 2023