US Justice Department Files Lawsuit to Stop Sugar Merger

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WASHINGTON—The U.S. Justice Department said on Tuesday it had filed an antitrust lawsuit aimed at blocking U.S. Sugar Corp from buying rival Imperial Sugar Co.

The deal, if it goes forward, would mean that just two companies have the “overwhelming majority” of refined sugar sales in the U.S. Southeast, the department said, which could drive up prices.

“U.S. Sugar and Imperial Sugar are already multibillion-dollar corporations and are seeking to further consolidate an already cozy sugar industry,” said Assistant Attorney General Jonathan Kanter of the Justice Department’s Antitrust Division.

U.S. Sugar announced in March that it would buy Imperial Sugar from commodities trader Louis Dreyfus Co. No financial details were disclosed.

Imperial Sugar operates a refinery at Port Wentworth in Savannah, Georgia, and a sugar transfer and liquification facility in Ludlow, Kentucky. It was bought by Louis Dreyfus in 2012 for $78 million.

The other major sugar refiner in the region is American Sugar Refining, which sells under the “Domino” brand, the department said.

Neither U.S. Sugar nor Louis Dreyfus immediately responded to a request for comment.

By Diane Bartz



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