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Business

BASF to Compensate U.S. Farmers

A U.S. court has ordered the German chemical company BASF to pay a €41 million ($52 million) penalty for using unfair sales strategies to sell its pesticides to American farmers. The Minnesota supreme court's decision upheld a previous ruling by a lower court. The U.S. subsidiary of BASF was accused of deliberately deceiving farmers by selling the same pesticide under different names and for different prices. The products in question were the pesticides Poast and Poast Plus, which were sold by BASF in the U.S. from 1992 to 1996. The court ruled that the make-up of both pesticides was more or less identical, and that they had been authorized by the U.S. authorities for the same purposes. However, BASF recommended the more expensive product, Poast, for use on sugar cane, sunflowers, potatoes and vegetables. The court was satisfied that farmers who planted these crops could just have easily used the cheaper product, Poast Plus. Farmers who'd bought Poast filed a class action suit against BASF. The company maintained throughout the case that the two products were not identical, and has said it intends to appeal the decision.