EU Fines Six LCD Makers for Price Fixing Shenanigans

Paul Lilly

Six LCD makers have been assessed fines of over $850 million (€648 million) by the European Commission for allegedly "operating a cartel which harmed European buyers of television sets, computers, and other products" infused with LCD technology. The companies involved include Samsung, LG, AU Optronics, Chimei InnoLux, Chunghwa Picture Tubes, and HannStar.

"Foreign companies, like European ones, need to understand that if they want to do business in Europe they must play fair. The companies concerned knew they were breaking competition rules and took steps to conceal their illegal behavior. The only understanding we will show is for those that come forward to denounce a cartel and help prove its existence," said Commission Vice President in charge of competition policy Joaquín Almunia.

According to the European Commission, the six LCD makers colluded for four years to fix prices, including price ranges and minimum prices, and exchanged information on future production planning, capacity utilization, and other commercial conditions. What's more, the so-called cartel reportedly held monthly multilateral meetings some 60 times, most often in hotels in Taiwan.

While Samsung was one of the six LCD makers involved, the company "received full immunity" for bringing the cartel to the Commission's attention and providing information on how it was run.

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