LCD manufacturers admit to price fixing

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LCD manufacturers admit to price fixing

Three of the world’s biggest LCD manufacturers have admitted taking part in a huge price fixing conspiracy to drive up the price of their products.

LG, Sharp and Chunghwa Picture Tubes have all admitted their guilt after an investigation by the US Department of Justice. The companies artificially fixed the price of TFT LCD panels from September 2001 to June 2006.

"Today’s charges and criminal fines emphasize the commitment of the Department of Justice to crack down on international cartels," said Attorney General Michael B. Mukasey.

The companies are being fined US$585 million between them, with LG paying out US$400 million, the second largest fine levied by the DOJ in its history.

Sharp is paying US$120 million for fixing the prices it charged Dell from April 2001 to December 2006 for use in computer monitors and laptops; to Motorola from autumn 2005 to the middle of 2006 for use in Razr mobile phones; and to Apple from September 2005 to December 2006 for use in iPod portable music players.

Chunghwa will pay US$65 million for its part in the conspiracy.

"These price-fixing conspiracies affected millions of American consumers who use computers, cell phones and numerous other household electronics every day," said Thomas O. Barnett, Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Department’s Antitrust Division.

"These convictions, and the significant fines they carry, should send a clear message that the Antitrust Division will vigorously investigate and prosecute illegal cartels, regardless of where they are located."

The three companies held meetings in Taiwan, Korea and the United States in order to arrange the deals, which were organised to present a united front on pricing to TFT LCD buyers.
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