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Agribusiness

September 28, 1996|Times Staff and Wire Reports

ADM to Pay $65 Million to Settle 2 Lawsuits: Archer-Daniels-Midland Co. agreed to settle the price-fixing lawsuits by its citric acid customers and shareholders. ADM said it would pay $35 million to resolve the customers' suit and $30 million to settle a class-action suit by investors accusing the company of hiding the fact that it fixed prices. If approved by the courts, the payments will be the largest by the company since price-fixing allegations surfaced in 1995. Earlier, the company agreed to pay $25 million to customers of its lysine animal feed supplement. A fourth class-action suit, by buyers of high-fructose corn syrup, is pending. ADM didn't admit wrongdoing in any of the cases. The Decatur, Ill.-based corn and soybean processor is negotiating with the Justice Department in hopes of avoiding indictments against it and two top executives. Analysts said the company is trying to settle civil cases first so if prosecutors insist on an admission of guilt, it won't be used in the suits. The citric acid lawsuit, in U.S. District Court in San Francisco, was filed by customers, including 7Up Bottling Co. of Stockton. ADM didn't return telephone calls seeking comment.

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