Pilgrim’s Pride Corporation announced that it has entered into a plea agreement with the United States Department of Justice Antitrust Division in respect to its investigation into the sales of broiler chicken products in the United States. In the plea agreement, which is subject to the approval of the United States District Court of Colorado, Pilgrim’s and the Antitrust Division agreed to a fine of $110,524,140 for restraint of competition that affected three contracts for the sale of chicken products to one customer in the United States. The agreement does not recommend a monitor, any restitution or probationary period, and provides that the Antitrust Division will bring no further charges against Pilgrim’s in this matter, provided the company complies with the terms and provisions of the agreement. Pilgrim’s expects to record the fine as a miscellaneous expense in its financial statements in the third quarter of 2020.
In June of 2020, federal prosecutors indicted several poultry industry officials, including Pilgrims’ then-CEO Jayson Pann, on charges of price-fixing. The executives had been charged with fixing poultry prices and passed on higher costs for chicken to consumers, restaurants and supermarkets, per the New York Times.
“Pilgrim’s is committed to fair and honest competition in compliance with U.S. antitrust laws,” said Fabio Sandri, Pilgrim’s CEO. “We are encouraged that today’s agreement concludes the Antitrust Division’s investigation into Pilgrim’s, providing certainty regarding this matter to our team members, suppliers, customers and shareholders.”
Source: Pilgrim’s, New York Times