US DOJ loses problem to US Sugar’s buy of Imperial Sugar

PHILADELPHIA — The Third US Circuit Courtroom of Appeals in Philadelphia upheld a September 2022 ruling by a Delaware Federal District Courtroom permitting Florida-based US Sugar Corp. to purchase the Imperial Sugar Co. in a $315 deal that closed in November 2022.  

US Sugar mentioned it was happy with the choice and would concentrate on integrating the 2 firms.  

“Bringing the Savannah refinery, its sugar manufacturers and amenities again into American possession is nice for our staff, our native communities, our prospects and our nation,” US Sugar mentioned.

Imperial Sugar was beforehand owned by the Louis Dreyfus Co. US Sugar agreed in March 2021 to purchase Imperial Sugar, with its single Savannah, Ga., refinery nearly completely depending on imported uncooked sugar.

The US Division of Justice had filed swimsuit to dam the acquisition, arguing the deal violated US antitrust legislation, would create a duopoly within the US Southeast, would considerably increase sugar costs and will pressure provide chains. The DOJ had requested the court docket to briefly block the closing of the deal whereas it appealed the ruling. That request was earlier denied.

The district court docket decide, in her preliminary ruling, cited the federal government run US sugar program that limits sugar provide and imports as contributing to excessive sugar costs. The Choose mentioned the DOJ had ignored the flexibility of distributors to maintain refined sugar costs from getting too excessive by promoting their very own provides. The Appeals court docket additionally mentioned the decrease court docket had the discretion to search out that the DOJ did not correctly establish which markets can be harmed by the merger.

The appeals court docket did, nonetheless, reverse a part of the decrease court docket’s ruling that mentioned the existence of the USDA’s sugar program, or different regulatory schemes, doesn’t inherently imply anti-trust legal guidelines don’t apply. Authorized analysts mentioned that ruling may very well be vital in different agricultural instances.