Six television / CRT monitor makers fined $1.9 billion for EU price fixing

By on December 5, 2012, 12:30 PM

A group of six electronics makers have collectively been hit with a massive antitrust penalty to the tune of 1.47 billion euros ($1.92 billion), the largest penalty in history in the region. The European Commission claims that representatives from LG Electronics, Panasonic Corp., Philips, Samsung SDI, Technicolor and Toshiba Corp. met on a regular basis up until about six years ago to fix prices and split the market for television and computer monitors that used cathode-ray tubes.

The EC says the companies were essentially running two cartels for almost a decade from 1996 through 2006, meeting in places like Amsterdam, Paris and Rome for “green meetings” that typically ended with a round of golf.

On an individual level, Philips was hit the hardest with a fine of 313.4 million euros followed by LG Electronics at 295.6 million euros. Panasonic Corp must pay 157.5 million euros while Samsung SDI is on the hook for 150.8 million euros. Toshiba Corp. and Technicolor owe 28 million euros and 38.6 million euros, respectively.

Two separate Panasonic joint ventures were also penalized in addition to a joint venture between LG Electronics and Philips that was hit for an additional 391.9 million euros. Philips said they will write off 509 million euros in the fourth quarter but plan to challenge the ruling.

They believe it is disproportionate and unjustified according to chief executive Frans van Houten. It’s worth pointing out that Philips sold the business that committed the crime in 2001 so perhaps they will have a leg to stand on during the challenge.




User Comments: 18

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KG363 KG363 said:

The EU is setting record after record for fine. This really needs to stop. They are not benefiting consumers, just punishing producers. Consumers voluntarily paid the prices. If this is the EU's idea for closing their debt gap, then good luck. I'm sure more than one company is has considered to stop EU sales if these fines continue.

fimbles fimbles said:

Consumers did volunteer to pay prices true, but they were fixed prices, and would have possibly been a lot lot lower had the market been free and open.

Tygerstrike said:

@KG363

Yes the customers WILLINGLY paid that price. However, if there had been ACTUAL fair market practices, customers would have paid alot less. By them meeting and fixing their prices, they in essence screwed the customer by fixing the price. So the EU fining these companies, is simply taking back the profits that they unfairly stole from the customers.

1 person liked this | KG363 KG363 said:

And giving them back their money? Oh wait...

cliffordcooley cliffordcooley, TechSpot Paladin, said:

So the EU fining these companies, is simply taking back the profits that they unfairly stole from the customers.
And then where does the profit go once taken back? Fining a company for governmental gain because of business as usual at screwing customers, is never beneficial to the customers that were screwed to begin with.

Same ole story:

  • government allows business to screw customer.
  • then government goes after their cut later.
  • meantime customer never receives compensation.
  • in the end its always the government that screws the customer for whats the word "lack of governing".
Guest said:

If I were to ever make a product, I would not sell it in the EU.

Guest said:

So the EU fining these companies, is simply taking back the profits that they unfairly stole from the customers.

I wish that was true.

distantreality said:

And the prices never get reduced anyway lol

Guest said:
  • government allows business to screw customer.
  • then government goes after their cut later.
  • meantime customer never receives compensation.
  • in the end its always the government that screws the customer for whats the word "lack of governing".

You left one out...

Company raises the prices of their products to recoup the cost of the government fines. So the customer gets the shaft at both ends.

Guest said:

Not surprised Samsung's on this list.

Guest said:

In a free and open market, companies should be able to form trusts and fix prices. This reduces the total sales and spurs new competition... theoretically

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

Price fixing meh, maybe not such a big deal.

But, they should bring these mutts up before a firing squad, for putting TN panels in consumer TVs 32" and below....

Zoltan Head said:

Not surprised Samsung's on this list.

Indeed! They have manufactured screens and sold them in the EU.

Tygerstrike said:

Ok so how exactly is the EU supposed to get the money that they fined the group for to the general customer exactly. Put out a mass mailer that says if you bought a "brand" TV or monitor come to your closest governmental office and pick up some money? The EU is punishing these companies by taking the profits they made by fixing the prices. The EU isnt screwing the consumer. And since this is a fine, the money collected will go to improve issues that the EU has control over. So the short sighted individual will say the EU is screwing the consumer base, when in reality the money normally goes to public works. So everyone can benifit.

cliffordcooley cliffordcooley, TechSpot Paladin, said:

So the short sighted individual will say the EU is screwing the consumer base, when in reality the money normally goes to public works. So everyone can benifit.
If you say so!! :rollseyes:

1 person liked this | Tygerstrike said:

@Cliff

Well I guess in a perfect world, thats the way its supposed to work. However there is way too much greed and coruption everywhere. The ideal is still solid though. Its the execution that leaves much to be desired. Still, they are taking money from ppl who scammed the consumers. That in and of itself is a bit of justice.

Guest said:

"In a free and open market, companies should be able to form trusts and fix prices. This reduces the total sales and spurs new competition... theoretically"

I don't know where you learned economics but that is totally wrong.

When companies form trusts and fix prices, it's no longer a free and open market. If A & B fix prices to get rid of C, A & B will have a duopoly and there is no new competition. The only new competition you will have is IF D who has enough capital to enter the market will as a new competitor or E who was irrelevant before but now has large capital investment, both of which will be trying to fight against A & B.

Pan Wah said:

I don't know where you learned economics but that is totally wrong.

When companies form trusts and fix prices, it's no longer a free and open market. If A & B fix prices to get rid of C, A & B will have a duopoly and there is no new competition. The only new competition you will have is IF D who has enough capital to enter the market will as a new competitor or E who was irrelevant before but now has large capital investment, both of which will be trying to fight against A & B.

Are you sure that's economics - it looks more like algebra?

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