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December 7, 2012

European Commission fines CRT makers €1.47bn over price-fixing

The cartelists also controlled the implementation, including auditing fulfilment with the capacity limitations by plant visits in the case of the computer monitor tubes cartel

By CBR Staff Writer

The European Commission has imposed a €1.47bn fine on seven international manufacturers of cathode ray tubes (CRT) for fixing prices for a decade.

Between 1996 and 2006, the fined firms have shared markets, allocated customers between themselves and restricted their output, EC said.

European Commission vice president Joaquín Almunia said that 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," Almunia said.
"They accounted for 50 to 70% of the price of a screen.

"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."

Dutch firm Philips has been blown with highest penalty of €313.4m, followed by LG Electronics with €295.6m, while other manufacturers include Panasonic, Samsung, Toshiba, and Technicolor.

During the period, the cartelists also controlled the implementation, including auditing compliance with the capacity limitations by plant visits during the computer monitor tubes cartel.

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"The cartelists were trying to address the decline of the CRT market in a collusive way, to the detriment of consumers," EC said.

The involved firms also held ‘green meetings’ across Asia and Europe to talk about price-fixing tactics, while lower-level meetings were known as ‘glass meetings’.

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