TV Manufacturers Fined For Price Fixing
Six television manufacturers have been fined a record 1.47bn euros (£1.2bn) by EU competition regulators for fixing the price of a key component.
Philips, LG Electronics and Samsung SDI are among those firms affected by the case, which examined the prices of TV cathode ray tubes in two cartels lasting nearly a decade, European Commission (EC) investigators said.
The biggest penalty of 313.4m euros (£254m) was imposed on Dutch-based Philips, and LG was hit with the second-largest fine of 295.6m euros (£240.4m).
The EC said the other companies involved were Panasonic, Toshiba and France's Technicolor.
Taiwanese firm Chunghwa Picture Tubes blew the whistle on the price-fixing and escaped a fine.
The two cartels - one of which involved tubes used for televisions and the other for computer monitors - operated across the world between 1996 and 2006.
During this period, the EC said executives from the companies would discuss how to fix prices at so-called "green meetings", which regularly ended with a round of golf.
EU Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia said in a statement: "These cartels for cathode ray tubes are 'textbook cartels': they feature all the worst kinds of anti-competitive behaviour that are strictly forbidden to companies doing business in Europe."
The violations were especially harmful for consumers because cathode ray tubes make-up between 50% and 70% of the total price of a screen, he added.
Cathode ray tubes - which use an electron beam to create the images - have largely been superseded by new display technologies including liquid-crystal display (LCD) and plasma displays.