Atlas Air Worldwide to Pay $17.4M to Settle Pricing Allegations

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Atlas Air Worldwide (NASDAQ:AAWW) will pay $17.4 million in an agreement with the US Department of Justice to settle allegations that its Polar Air Cargo subsidiary manipulated fuel surcharges for services more than seven years ago.

Shares of Atlas Air sprung up nearly 5% Thursday on the announcement.

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Polar Air Cargo, not to be confused with Atlas Air’s majority-owned subsidiary Polar Air Cargo Worldwide, will pay the fine in several installments over the next five years.

“We are glad to put this matter behind us,” said Atlas Air Worldwide CEO William J. Flynn. “We are continually reviewing our competition compliance rules and enhancing our training programs, which call for all of our staff to comply fully with such requirements at all times, since we are committed to the highest standards of ethics and corporate governance.”

The case dealt with shipments from the US to Australia from January 2000 to April 2003 involving conduct of former Polar employees.

The alleged crimes occurred almost two years before Polar was acquired by Atlas Air in May 2002 and before its emergence from bankruptcy in July 2004.

The plea, which is subject to approval by the US District Court for the District of Columbia, is not expected to adversely impact any of Atlas Air’s other operations.

The Purchase, New York-based company recorded an expense for the full amount in its second quarter in anticipation of the agreement.

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