Scotts Miracle-Gro (SMG) Settles with U.S. DoJ; Will Pay ~$12.7M in Fines

September 7, 2012 4:13 PM EDT
The Scotts Miracle-Gro Company (NYSE: SMG) today finalized settlement agreements with the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) related to certain company products distributed and sold through 2009.

Following a Friday afternoon hearing in U.S. District Court in Columbus, Ohio, ScottsMiracle-Gro Chairman and CEO Jim Hagedorn said the DOJ's investigation identified conduct that was not consistent with the company's core values, but ultimately resulted in improvements to the company's regulatory compliance programs.

On Friday, U.S. District Judge James L. Graham accepted the company's plea agreement related to misdemeanor charges associated with product registration issues and wild bird food products. That agreement includes a fine of $4 million, with $500,000 in community service.

Separately, the company entered into a civil administrative agreement and agreed to pay a fine of $6.05 million related to some of the company's product registration records. While the company stressed that the agreement neither admits nor denies the allegations, it believes concluding the matter is in the best interest of the company, its shareholders and its associates.

In addition to the fines, the company also committed in the settlements to provide funding for several important environmental projects. It will provide $100,000 each to the Ohio Audubon's Important Bird Area Program, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources' Urban Forestry Program, the Columbus Metro-Parks Bird Habitat Enhancement Program, the Cornell University Ornithology Laboratory, and the Nature Conservancy of Ohio. Additionally, the company committed to provide at least $2 million in funds to acquire, restore, and conserve over 300 acres of land throughout Ohio in association with the Black Swamp Conservancy.*

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