British Sugar has lost a final appeal at the European Court of Justice (ECJ) against a €39.6m (US$47.4m) fine imposed by the European Commission over allegations of illegal concerted practice and agreements over sugar prices with rivals Tate & Lyle and Napier Brown between 1986 and 1990.

Peterborough-based British Sugar was contesting the ruling in its initial appeal at the ECJ’s sister Court of First Instance, claiming that its judges erred by failing to conclude the Commission had no jurisdiction over an issue only affecting Britain.

The senior ECJ has now ruled Brussels had merely to demonstrate a possible effect, however. Also British Sugar claimed the Commission and the junior court “misassessed the proportionality of the fines”, but these claims were also rejected by the ECJ, which ordered costs against the company.