Electronics firms fined £1.1bn for fixing prices of TVs and computers

Companies including Philips, LG Electronics and Panasonic artificially set prices according to the European Commission 

Martin Hickman
Wednesday 05 December 2012 20:45
Comments
EU anti-competition commissioner Joaquin Almunia said that the companies' actions "feature all the worst kinds of anti-competitive behaviour that are strictly forbidden to companies doing business in Europe"
EU anti-competition commissioner Joaquin Almunia said that the companies' actions "feature all the worst kinds of anti-competitive behaviour that are strictly forbidden to companies doing business in Europe"

Executives from some of the world’s biggest electronics manufacturers met in Europe and Asia to illegally fix the price of televisions and computers for a decade, the European Commission (EC) ruled today.

Handing out huge fines to Philips, Panasonic, Samsung and four other firms, Brussels ruled that between 1996 and 2006 they held back supply of cathode ray tubes, then the key component in TV sets and computer monitors.

Because the tubes made up between 50 and 70 per cent of the retail price, consumers consequently paid an “over price” for TVs and computers. The scam was “among the most organised cartels that the Commission has investigated”, the EC said.

The cartelists’ “anti-competitive practices” included price fixing, market sharing, customer allocation and exchanging commercially-sensitive information.

Staff were told to destroy incriminating documents. Executives would agree the frauds at “green” meetings – so-called because afterwards they would play golf.

“For almost 10 years… these companies fixed prices, shared markets, allocated customers between themselves and restricted their output,” said the EC, which fined the seven a total of €1.4bn (£1.1bn).

Some of the best-known names in electronics – Philips, Samsung SDI, LG Electronics, Panasonic, Toshiba, MTPD, Technicolor and Chunghwa Picture Tubes – ran different cartels for television tubes and computer tubes.

Philips said it would challenge what it called a disproportionate and unjustified penalty. Panasonic and Toshiba are also considering legal challenges. Samsung reserved its comment.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in