Europe fines Flat-Panel makers on price fixing

The European Commission has imposed fines on five South Korean and Taiwanese companies for fixing the prices of liquid-crystal display panels in popular devices like flat-screen televisions, computers and notebook devices.

The fines, totaling 649 million were related to violations dating to 2001, when the companies started meeting to fix prices of LCD screens. Although most of the illegal activity took place in Taiwan, the Brussels regulator said European action was necessary because the activities of the companies raised prices on goods sold to European consumers. The value of the goods was more than 7 billion the commission said.

Chimei Innolux, a Taiwanese company, was ordered to pay almost $400 million, the largest fine. The other Taiwanese companies ordered to pay fines were AU Optronics, Chunghwa Picture Tubes and HannStar Display. LG Display, was fined $286 million, the second-largest amount.

Samsung, the largest maker of LCD screens in the world, was not fined because it had reported the cartel to the authorities.