The EU has imposed a record-setting fine of $1.92 billion on Philips, LG Electronics, Samsung SDI and three other firms because of illegal price fixing of TVs and computer monitors. The biggest fine went to Philips at $410 million (313.4 million euros), with LG Electronics coming in second at $386 million (295.6 million euros) and Samsung third at “only” $196 million (150.8 million euros). Toshiba and French company Technicolor were also slapped fines in the tens of millions.
These penalties come after a lengthy investigation by the EU competition authority following allegations of these companies working as cartels to set fixed prices on TVs and computer monitors. These cartels seem to have operated between 1996 and 2006, during which company executives discussed how to fix prices and share markets.
EU Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia said in a statement:
These cartels for cathode ray tubes are 'textbook cartels': they feature all the worst kinds of anti-competitive behavior that are strictly forbidden to companies doing business in Europe
So far Philips is the only company to respond publicly to the fines. In the company's press release, Philips tries to distance itself from this situation stating that Philips CRT activities were divested in 2001 in a joint venture with LG. They state that the fines are "disproportionate and unjustified." But the company also issued an apology, however, saying "We regret any association with this type of behavior." You can actually watch a video of the company's apology here.
In the end, these kinds of activities are hurting consumers so we can't say we're sorry one bit for these companies.
Source: Reuters | Image via OpenMarkets.in