Orange juice giants sued for $2.5B over alleged price fixing

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Orange juice giants sued for $2.5B over alleged price fixing

Prosecutors in Brazil are seeking $2.5 billion in damages in a class-action lawsuit against the country’s largest orange juice producers for allegedly colluding to fix prices between 1999 and 2006, Reuters reports.

Defendants in the lawsuit include firms like Cutrale, Citrosuco, and Louis Dreyfus CO, which produce most of the world's orange juice. 

“The suit seeks reparation from the companies that prosecutors say dominated almost 80% of domestic orange juice production, excluding around 75% of the small and medium-sized firms in the segment in Sao Paulo state alone,” said Reuters. 

Citrus growers indicated that the companies formed a cartel with the intention of causing a drop in fruit prices, inflicting losses on the farmers and consumers.

Brazil’s antitrust regulator Cade investigated, and in 2016, the watchdog and companies reached an agreement for a payment of around USD $60 million to settle the case.

The class-action lawsuit was filed by the prosecutors in March, more than 20 years after the first accusations were made.

Prosecutors are seeking 12.7 billion reais (US$2.51 billion) in damages, exceeding annual revenue from orange juice exports in the 2021-2022 season, which totaled $1.62 billion.

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