GREELEY, COLO. – Poultry processor Pilgrim’s Pride Corp. has agreed to pay $75 million to settle price fixing claims made against the company by foodservice, institutional and retail poultry buyers. The settlement relates to “In re Broiler Chicken Antitrust Litigation” that claims that as far back as Jan. 1, 2008, poultry processors conspired to fix prices by coordinating production.
“While Pilgrim’s does not admit any liability for the claims alleged in the broiler antitrust civil litigation, it believes a settlement was in the best interests of the company and its shareholders,” the company said.
The settlement in the civil price fixing case does not affect the antitrust price fixing case that was initiated in June.
The civil agreement is subject to court approval and the payment will be reflected in Pilgrim’s Pride’s fourth-quarter 2020 financial results, according to the company.
Other poultry processors named as defendants in the suit include Amick Farms, Case Farms, Claxton Poultry, Fieldale Farms, Foster Farms, George’s, Harrison Poultry, House of Raeford Farms, Koch Foods, Mar-Jac Poultry, Mountaire Farms, OK Foods, Peco Foods, Tyson Foods, Perdue Farms, Sanderson Farms, Simmons Foods and Wayne Farms.
Amick Farms, Fieldale Farms, George’s and Peco Foods have all reached settlement agreements with the plaintiffs.
In the other price fixing case filed in June, a federal grand jury in the US District Court of Denver indicted four executives at Pilgrim’s Pride and Claxton Poultry for their alleged role in a conspiracy to fix prices. Among the indicted was Jayson Penn, then the chief executive officer of Pilgrim’s Pride. Penn left the company in September.
In October, the company entered into a plea agreement with the US Department of Justice and agreed to pay a $110.5 million fine for its role in the scheme.