Sugar Industry Deal Finalized Despite Government Opposition

Nov. 30, 2022
The Department of Justice wants to stop U.S. Sugar from buying a competitor, but it lost the first round in court.

U.S. Sugar’s purchase of Imperial Sugar has gone through, despite the federal government’s ongoing efforts to stop it.

U.S. Sugar is paying $315 million to buy Imperial Sugar from Louis Dreyfus Co. The move will give it an overwhelming presence in the southeastern United States, which is why the U.S. Department of Justice sued to stop the deal. The government lost in a ruling Sept. 23 by a federal district court judge and is appealing that decision.

A hearing in that appeal, before the Third Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia, is tentatively scheduled for Jan. 19. That court has already declined the Justice Department’s request for a temporary injunction halting the deal. Lawyers for U.S. Sugar said in a Nov. 29 court filing that the acquisition has been completed.

In a filing before that, U.S. Sugar argued that one of the Imperial plants it seeks to acquire, in Port Wentworth, Ga., is so old and inefficient that it’s now used mostly for supplementary fill-ins to orders mostly processed elsewhere. But the government contends that for a Florida-based company to acquire a Georgia sugar refinery would cripple competition in the region for sugar supplies.

About the Author

Pan Demetrakakes | Senior Editor

Pan has written about the food and beverage industry for more than 25 years. His areas of coverage have included formulations, processing, packaging, marketing and retailing. Pan worked for Food Processing Magazine for six years in the 1990s, where he was operations editor (his current role), touring dozens of food plants of every description. He has also worked for Packaging and Food & Beverage Packaging magazines, the latter as chief editor, during which he won three ASBPE awards. He is a graduate of Stanford University with a BA in communications.

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