The Korea Herald


Watchdog fines cartel of 4 tube glass makers

By Korea Herald

Published : Dec. 11, 2011 - 21:36

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South Korea’s antitrust watchdog said Sunday that it has fined four South Korean and Japanese makers of cathode-ray tube glass a combined 54.5 billion won ($47.5 million) for colluding to fix prices.

Samsung Corning Precision Materials Co. was slapped with the largest fine of 32.4 billion won, with Hankook Electric Glass Co., the local subsidiary of Japan’s Asahi Glass Co. receiving a fine of 18.3 billion won, according to the Fair Trade Commission.

The regulator also imposed a combined penalty of 3.74 billion won on two subsidiaries of Nippon Electric Glass Co. (NEG).

Industry sources said Samsung Corning Precision Materials may have its fine slashed sharply because it voluntarily reported the price-fixing scheme to the watchdog.

Samsung Corning Precision Materials, AGC and NEG have a combined global market share of 65.1 percent, with their share of the South Korean market reaching 69 percent.

According to the watchdog, the companies held at least 35 meetings in South Korea, Japan and Singapore between March 1999 and January 2007 to fix prices of CRT glass and coordinate production.

To rig CRT glass prices, the companies agreed to set a target price or on-quarter markups and markdowns.

They also conspired to reduce CRT glass output in a bid to counter a glut that resulted from stagnant demand for the product, the FTC said.

CRT glass manufacturers have been grappling with sagging demand as liquid crystal displays and other flat screens are quickly replacing braun tubes. (Yonhap News)