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Brazil: Regulator settles 17-yr-old case with orange juice producers

 |  November 23, 2016

Brazil’s antitrust agency Cade said on Wednesday it has settled a 17-year-old case against Brazilian orange juice producers accused of colluding to reduce prices paid to farmers.

Cade settled with juice producers Cutrale, Citrovita, Coinbra, Fischer, Cargill , Bascitrus and industry group Abecitrus, along with nine individuals involved in the cartel case. They will pay a combined $89 million to end the probe.

It was the agency’s oldest case, with an investigation starting in 1999 after complaints from independent fruit producers regarding juice makers’ buying practices. Brazil is the world’s largest orange juice producer and exporter, representing half of the juice sold worldwide.

“They admitted participation in the conduct being investigated, pledged to end those practices and cooperated with Cade to elucidate the facts,” the antitrust body said in a statement.

According to Cade, the companies also agreed to withdraw several lawsuits that have blocked the probe’s progress in the past.

The Brazilian orange juice industry has undergone significant consolidation since the start of the case.

Cargill left the business in 2004, when it sold its operations in the country to Cutrale and Citrosuco.

Citrosuco later merged with Fischer and along with Cutrale and Louis Dreyfus currently dominate the sector in Brazil.

Full Content: Reuters

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