updated 03:10 pm EDT, Mon July 13, 2009
LCD makers price fixing
The European Union's antitrust regulators have charged Philips Electronics, LG Display and a number of smaller, unnamed LCD makers with corroborating on fixing the price of LCD monitors, Philips announced on Monday. According to a Monday report, the EU antitrust regulators began their investigation in 2006, along with their US counterparts, and has now concluded that the involved firms knowingly kept pricing high. Philips said it would vigorously fight the accusation and claimed that it sold all of its shares in LG Display in March, eliminating possible incentives to illegally collaborate in the future.
Last November in the US, LG Display, Sharp, Chunghwa Picture Tubes and Hitachi pleaded guilty to price fixing and paid out nearly $600 million in fines for colluding to unfairly set the prices of LCD monitors sold to the manufacturers of computers, phones and music players. South Korea and Japan have also launched their own investigations.
Many of these companies have been concerned about rapidly shrinking profit margins on LCDs as the technology becomes commoditized and reduces competition to a matter of price. Fixing is often believed to be a means of stalling these price drops until absolutely necessary.