Tyson reveals subpoena linked to alleged price fixing

Mon Feb 6, 2017 6:11pm EST
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By Tom Polansek and Sruthi Ramakrishnan

(Reuters) - Tyson Foods Inc disclosed on Monday it has received a subpoena from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission following allegations it conspired with rivals for years to fix chicken prices.

The chicken sector, which is dominated by a handful of large meat companies, has come under increased scrutiny over the past year as customers and farmers have alleged antitrust violations relating to pricing, production and compensation.

U.S. poultry buyers claimed in a lawsuit in 2016 that Tyson, the nation's biggest chicken processor, and its competitors had colluded since 2008 to reduce output and manipulate prices.

Tyson, Pilgrim's Pride Corp and Sanderson Farms Inc have denied the accusations.

Investors in separate lawsuits have alleged the processors made misleading statements or failed to disclose information about price fixing.

Tyson Chief Executive Tom Hayes declined to share details about its subpoena on a conference call with reporters after the company reported better-than-expected quarterly sales and profit. He said the company had not changed pricing practices.

Tyson received the subpoena from the SEC on Jan. 20 in connection with an investigation related to the company, according to regulatory documents.

The seller of Ball Park hot dogs said it had limited information and was cooperating with the probe, which is in an early stage.   Continued...

Tyson food meat products are shown in this photo illustration in Encinitas, California May 29,  2014. REUTERS/Mike Blake