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Tuesday, November 01, 2011
South Korea Fines LCD Makers For Price Fixing

South Korea's Fair Trade Comission (KFTC) has fined 10 flat panel makers in Taiwan and South Korea a total of 194 billion won (US$175 million) for price fixing.

Firms, including AU Optronics Corp and Chimei Innolux Corp from Taiwan, and Samsung Electronics and LG Display in South Korea colluded from 2001 to 2006 to control prices of panels for computers and televisions, the Korean Fair Trade Commission said.

The offenders also included Taiwanese and Japanese units of both Samsung Electronics and LG Display, as well as Taiwan?s Chunghwa Picture Tubes Ltd and HannStar Display Crop, KFTC added.

Officials from the firms involved held meetings over six years to agree on cutting or suspending production to prevent prices from falling and to exchange confidential information such as sales plans.

Samsung Electronics was slapped with the heaviest fine of 97.2 billion won, followed by 65.5 billion won for LG Display and its foreign affiliates.

Three years ago, major Asian LCD makers including LG were fined after a similar US probe. In December last year, the European Commission also fined six Asian makers of LCD screens a total of 649 million euros (US$860 million at the time) for operating for almost five years as a cartel.

Samsung, the world's largest LCD maker, reportedly said it respected the commission's decision and would abide by the free-trade law. LG, the second largest LCD maker, said it objected to the commission's decision and would appeal to the Seoul High Court.

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