U.S. Justice Dept settles with paperboard companies
WASHINGTON Nov 7 (Reuters) - Flakeboard American Ltd and SierraPine settled U.S. allegations that they illegally worked together without obtaining antitrust approval for a deal, which ended up being scrapped, the U.S. Department of Justice said on Friday.
Flakeboard and its Chilean parent companies Celulosa Arauco y Constitucion SA and Inversiones Angelini y Compania Limitada, agreed to give up $1.15 million in illegal profits, the department said. Flakeboard and SierraPine will pay $3.8 million in civil penalties for the illegal coordination, the department said.
Flakeboard announced in January 2014 that it would buy three SierraPine mills, which make particle board and fiberboard, for $107 million. The transaction was called off on Oct. 1 when it became clear that the deal could not win antitrust approval from the Justice Department.
While the antitrust review was under way, the companies closed the SierraPine mill in Springfield, Oregon and shifted the customers to Flakeboard, the Justice Department said in its complaint.
As part of shifting the customers, SierraPine gave Flakeboard competitively sensitive information about the mill's customers, which Flakeboard gave to its sales people, the complaint said.
Similarly, SierraPine directed customers who approached its mill in Martell, California, for products to a Flakeboard mill, the complaint said.
Executives at Flakeboard and SierraPine could not immediately be reached for comment. (Reporting by Diane Bartz; editing by Andrew Hay)
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