China fines LG, Samsung in flat panel price case
Suppliers have been hit by American and European regulators with penalties totaling more than USD 3 billion for colluding to push up slumping prices of display screens in 2001-06. US courts have sentenced 12 executives to prison.
In China, the display-manufacturing arms of Samsung Electronics Co and LG Electronics Inc, along with four Taiwanese companies, were ordered to pay USD 22.8 million in penalties plus repayment to Chinese customers and other charges, according to China's planning agency, the National Development and Reform Commission.
Envoys from LG Display, Samsung Display and the Taiwanese suppliers met every quarter in 2001-06 to set prices of screens at a time when supply outstripped demand, pushing down market prices, according to Western and Chinese regulators.
Samsung owns 85 per cent of Samsung Display, the biggest display manufacturer. LG Display is a publicly traded company in which LG owns a 38 per cent stake.
Nearly all the world's mobile phones and personal computers are assembled in China, making it a major market for display screens and other components imported from South Korea, Taiwan and other Asian economies.
The display makers "manipulated market prices and damaged the lawful interests of other companies and consumers," said an NDRC statement.
US prosecutors say some USD 74 billion in global sales of display screens were affected by the conspiracy. Customers included Apple Inc, Dell Inc and other producers
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