GAINESVILLE, GA.— Tyson Foods Inc.’s motion to dismiss an antitrust suit against the company for allegedly driving a poultry rendering company out of the market was dismissed by a Georgia federal court judge on Nov. 8.
American Proteins Inc. (API) filed a complaint in May against Tyson, alleging the poultry processor “orchestrated an anticompetitive scheme in collusion with their competitors to drive Plaintiffs, American Proteins, AMPRO, and Georgia Feed, from the poultry rendering market in Georgia, Alabama, north Florida, and south Tennessee,” the court document said.
Prior to August 2018, API was the largest poultry renderer in the southeastern United States, making up 90% of the market share.
The suit claims that Tyson approached API in 2017, looking to acquire the company or its four rendering facilities. Tyson informed API of a 10-year contract already signed with Wayne Farms and Koch Foods that would have deprived the rendering company of needed supplies. After API approached Wayne Farms and Koch Foods with new contracts at a reduced price, the companies “refused to consider the proposals,” the suit stated.
According to API, the poultry processors misrepresented their 10-year contracts, which included “outs” so that the companies could back out if they failed to acquire API or its facilities.
In May 2018, API sold its company to Tyson for around $850 million.
US District Judge Richard W. Story found that API “sufficiently pleaded a conspiracy to monopolize claim and therefore denies Defendants’ Motion to Dismiss Count III,” the court document said.