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EU slaps record fine on TV makers

Posted: 07 Dec 2012     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:fina  price fixing  televisions  monitor tubes  cartel 

The European Commission has slapped Rs.10,137.93 crore (€1.47 billion) fine on six electronics majors for "fixing prices" of televisions and computer monitor tubes for more than 20 years.

One cartel concerned colour picture tubes used for televisions and the other one colour display tubes used in computer monitors.

Chunghwa, LG Electronics, Philips and Samsung SDI participated in both cartels, while Panasonic, Toshiba, MTPD (currently a Panasonic subsidiary) and Technicolour (formerly Thomson) participated only in the cartel for television tubes.

"Between 1996 and 2006, these companies fixed prices, shared markets, allocated customers between themselves and restricted their output," EU said in its statement.

Chunghwa received full immunity from fines, as it was the first to reveal their existence to the Commission.

However, the biggest penalty of Rs.2,161.38 crore (€313.4 million), has been slapped on Dutch-based Philips; while LG Electronics has been charged with a Rs.2,038.62 crore (€295.6 million) fine. Other fines: Panasonic Rs.1,086.21 crore (€157.5 million), Samsung SDI Rs.1,040.00 crore (€150.8 million), Toshiba Rs.193.10 crore (€28 million), and Technicolour Rs.266.21 crore (€38.6 million).

"These cartels for cathode ray tubes are 'textbook cartels': they feature all the worst kinds of anticompetitive behaviour that are strictly forbidden to companies doing business in Europe. Cathode ray tubes were a very important component in the making of television and computer screens. They accounted for 50 to 70 per cent of the price of a screen," said Joaquín Almunia, commission vice president in charge of competition policy.

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