US poultry company Pilgrim’s Pride has agreed to pay a fine of $110.5 million under a plea deal with the US Department of Justice (DOJ) to resolve price-fixing charges.
The antitrust division of the department fined the company for restraining competition in relation to three contracts to one customer in the US, according to Pilgrim’s.
The plea agreement, which is subject to the approval of the United States District Court of Colorado, follows a DOJ probe into the sale of broiler chicken products in the country.
The DOJ will not be allowed to bring further charges against the chicken giant based on the plea agreement.
The deal comes after Pilgrim’s then CEO Jayson Penn was indicted in June, along with a former Pilgrim’s vice president and two Claxton Poultry Farms executives. The four were charged as alleged ‘members of a conspiracy to fix prices and rig bids for broiler chicken products’ over a roughly five-year period, according to the DOJ website.
Pilgrim’s Pride recently announced that Penn, who began a paid leave of absence in June to focus on his defence, is ‘no longer with the company’. Fabio Sandri has been appointed as his replacement.
“Pilgrim’s is committed to fair and honest competition in compliance with US antitrust laws,” said Pilgrim’s CEO, Fabio Sandri.
“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.”
Pilgrim’s says that it expects to record the fine as a miscellaneous expense in its financial statements in the third quarter.
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