updated 12:55 pm EST, Wed December 8, 2010
EU announces fines for long-running LCD cartel
The European Commission on Wednesday announced several key decisions, one of which involves fining six LCD makers for being involved in a price-fixing cartel between October 2001 and February 2006. The fines amount to the equivalent of $856 million (649 million euros) and need to be paid by Korea's Samsung and LG as well as Taiwan's AU Optronics, Chimei InnoLux, Chunghwa Picture Tubes and HannStar. While the companies are based outside of Europe, the cartel's actions affected the price of products sold in Europe.
The European Commission called the cartel very well organized, with weekly meetings held largely in Taiwanese hotels. A total of 60 meetings allegedly took place, where those involved agreed on prices, price ranges and minimum selling prices of the LCDs. The companies exchanged information on upcoming production plans, factory capacities and their use and trading conditions, the Commission claimed.
Evidence shows the companies involved knew their actions were illegal. During the time period in question, the six makers sold LCD panels in TVs, desktop and notebook computers with total sales worth more than $9.2 billion (7 billion euros). The fine is based on the value of the affected sales throughout the period.
As reported earlier, Samsung has received full immunity because it brought the cartel to the European Commission's attention. LG, AU and Chunghwa also received reductions in the fine as a reward for cooperating with the investigation. Two companies asked for a reduction of the fine because they allegedly couldn't afford to pay it, but the Commission refused these requests. [via Europa]