U.S. DoJ fines Pilgrim’s Pride over antitrust issues

Adds agreement details, background

Oct 14 (Reuters)U.S. poultry company Pilgrim’s Pride Corp PPC.O said on Wednesday it has agreed to pay a fine of more than $110 million following a Justice Department probe into alleged price-fixing in the sale of broiler chicken products in the United States.

The antitrust division of the department fined the company for restraining competition, which affected three contracts for the sale of chicken products to a customer in the United States, Pilgrim’s said.

“We are encouraged that today’s agreement concludes the Antitrust Division’s investigation into Pilgrim’s,” Chief Executive Officer Fabio Sandri said in a statement.

The plea agreement is subject to the approval of the United States District Court of Colorado.

It comes after Pilgrim’s then CEO Jayson Penn was indicted in June along with three other current and former industry executives on charges of seeking to fix the price of chickens. Penn has pleaded not guilty.

Pilgrim’s said it expects to record the fine as a miscellaneous expense in its financial statements in the third quarter.

(Reporting by Rama Venkat in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur)

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