Tyson Foods is paying $ 221.5 million to settle some chicken price fixing claims

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From Jonathan stamp

(Reuters) – Tyson Foods Inc said Wednesday it will pay $ 221.5 million to resolve a lawsuit brought by three groups of plaintiffs who accused it of illegally conspiring to raise chicken prices.

Settlements with so-called “end users”, commercial buyers and buyers who bought chickens directly from Tyson require approval by a federal judge in Chicago.

Tyson admitted no liability when he agreed to the settlement, saying the payments will be reflected in his financial statements for the first quarter. (https://bit.ly/3irbA5a)

The Springdale, Arkansas-based company is still facing price fixing from some large chain restaurants, supermarket operators, and grocers such as Chick-fil-A, Kroger Co, Walmart Inc, and Sysco Corp.

Tyson’s settlements regulate all class action lawsuits against the company in a lawsuit that began in 2016 over alleged collusion in the $ 65 billion chicken industry.

Restaurants, supermarkets, vendors and consumers accused chicken producers of conspiring since 2008 to drive up chicken prices through tactics such as restricting production and sharing non-public data on supply and demand.

Pilgrim’s Pride Corp, which is primarily owned by Brazilian JBS SA, agreed on Jan. 11 to pay $ 75 million to meet claims from direct buyers of chickens.

Perdue Farms Inc and Sanderson Farms Inc are among the other defendants in the litigation. Some smaller manufacturers have settled related claims.

The US Department of Justice brought criminal price fixing and bid fixing charges against 10 poultry industry executives in Denver last year. All have pleaded not guilty.

The case is In re Broiler Chicken Antitrust Litigation, US District Court, Northern District of Illinois, No. 16-08637.

(Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York and Nivedita Balu in Bengaluru; editing by Amy Caren Daniel and Andrea Ricci)

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