The Fair Trade Commission on Sunday levied a fine of 194 billion won ($175.9 million) on 10 flat panel makers including Samsung Electronics, for price-fixing their flat TV and notebook computers.
The fine is the largest ever slapped on an international cartel, of which Korea’s LG Display and Taiwan’s liquid crystal display makers AU Optronics, Chimei Innolux Corp., Chunghwa Picture Tubes and HannStar Display Corp. are members, the watchdog said.
The watchdog said the collusion included adjusting the amount of supply and false advertising that the industry was short of LCD TVs, between September 2001 and December 2006.
“This case is about price fixing by firms, which command more than 80 percent of the market of LCDs, a key component for computer monitors, laptops, TVs and other major home appliances,” the FTC said in a statement.
“Our action is the third of its kind following (cases in) the United States and the European Union.”
The watchdog found evidence of those LCD makers holding monthly covert meetings where they discussed ways to prevent price declines from oversupply.
LG Display, the world’s second-largest LCD maker after Samsung, said it will appeal to the Seoul High Court as the deadline to levy fines on collusion expired in July. It also said the company is expecting a considerable reduction in the fine under the leniency program.
FTC said the penalties may be adjusted depending on the revenues made through the cartel.
Samsung, the world’s largest maker of LCD panels, on Sunday said it fully respects the watchdog’s ruling.
By Cynthia J. Kim (firstname.lastname@example.org