On Monday the US Department Of Justice (DOJ) said it would appeal a judge’s decision, which cleared the way for US Sugar’s plans to buy rival Imperial Sugar by declaring the proposed merger – which has been strongly opposed by US Antitrust authorities – was legal under antitrust law, Reuters reported. Last week Judge Noreika ruled for the companies, rejecting the government’s request that she stop the deal from going forward.
The DOJ said in a lawsuit filed last November that the $315 million deal would give some 75% of refined sugar sales in the U.S.’ southeast to U.S. Sugar, owner and member of a cooperative with three other companies, and American Sugar Refining, which sells under the Domino brand.
According to the department’s complaint, US Sugar operates a large sugar refinery in Florida, and sells all of its refined sugar through United Sugars Corporation (United Sugars), a marketing cooperative owned by US Sugar and three other refined sugar producers. Imperial Sugar operates its own sugar refinery in Georgia, and sells its refined sugar directly to customers.
American Sugar Refining, known more commonly by its “Domino” brand name, is the other producer supplying a significant share of refined sugar in the southeastern United States. The complaint further alleges that United Sugars and Imperial Sugar compete head-to-head to supply refined sugar to customers across the Southeast in states stretching from Mississippi to Delaware. This competition has resulted in lower prices, better-quality products and more reliable service for customers across the region.
Responding to Friday’s court ruling, US Sugar said in a statement late Monday that it planned to consummate the transaction as quickly as possible, complete the deal and bring Imperial Sugar Company back into the American family ownership.
US sugar also intends to invest in upgrading Imperial’s Savannah Refinery and operations, and plans to retain the current employees in the facility, its Chief Executive Officer Robert Buker said. DOJ Sugar