The European Commission has fined a group of electronics manufacturers a combined €1.47 billion for colluding to fix the price of cathode ray tubes, components that were used in televisions and monitors.
Between 1996 and 2006, two supplier cartels "fixed prices, shared markets, allocated customers between themselves and restricted their output" to pervert the CRT market. One, which included LG, Philips and Samsung, focused on CRTS for monitors, while another, which also included Panasonic, focused on TVs.
The cartels were "among the most sophisticated" the EC has investigated, it said in a statement today. They held multilateral top management level meetings, dubbed ‘green meetings’, where they discussed supply, demand and pricing. The meetings were followed by a round of golf.
"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,” said Joaquín Almunia, commission vice president in charge of competition policy.
“Cathode ray tubes were a very important component in the making of television and computer screens. They accounted for 50 to 70% of the price of a screen,” Almunia said. "This gives an indication of the serious harm this illegal behaviour has caused both to television and computer screen producers in the EEA, and ultimately the harm it caused to the European consumers over the years."
The EC fined Panasonic €157.5 million, Samsung SDI €150.8 million, Toshiba €28 million, Technicolor €38.6 million, LG Electronics €179 million and MTPD2 €7.9 million.