Canadian canned sardine company Connors Bros has announced that the US Department of Justice has filed its final judgment with the US District Court for the District of Columbia, concluding the antitrust investigation that began this spring with the combination of the Connors Bros business with San Diego-based Bumble Bee Seafoods.

Under the final judgment, Connors Bros is required to divest the Port Clyde sardine brand in the US, as well as several other smaller sardine brands.

On an unaudited basis, the combined net sales of Port Clyde and the other brands to be divested were US$5.4m for the 12 months ending 26 June 2004. The judgment does not impact the company's main sardine brands Brunswick, Beach Cliff, Bumble Bee or King Oscar.

Connors Bros said it was pleased with the conclusion of the Department of Justice investigation, but added it did not believe that anti-competitive conditions exist in the sardine category. The company said it does not anticipate that the divestiture of the brands will have a material result on its earnings for calendar year 2004 or future years.