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

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

US Sugar stated it was happy with the choice and would deal with integrating the 2 corporations.  

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

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 totally depending on imported uncooked sugar.

The US Division of Justice had filed go well with to dam the acquisition, arguing the deal violated US antitrust legislation, would create a duopoly within the US Southeast, would considerably elevate sugar costs and will pressure provide chains. The DOJ had requested the court docket to quickly 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 stated 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 stated the decrease court docket had the discretion to search out that the DOJ did not correctly determine which markets could be harmed by the merger.

The appeals court docket did, nonetheless, reverse a part of the decrease court docket’s ruling that stated 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 stated that ruling could possibly be vital in different agricultural instances.