Philips, LG Display face LCD price-fixing charges
Brussels, July 13, 2009
Dutch electronics maker Philips and South Korea's LG Display said on Monday they had received a charge sheet from the EU's executive arm about suspected price-fixing on LCD panels.
The European Commission said earlier that it had sent a 'statement of objections' to a number of liquid-crystal display makers for suspected violation of cartel rules, but did not name the companies involved.
'The product under investigation is the main component of thin, flat monitors used in mobile phones, televisions, computers, digital watches, pocket calculators, portable music players (MP3) and digital cameras,' a statement from the antitrust watchdog of the 27-country European Union said.
Philips said it received the charge sheet as a former shareholder of LG Display and this did not mean it was directly involved.
LG Display, the world's No. 2 maker of LCD panels, said it was reviewing the statement of objections but declined to comment further.
The statement of objections is a formal step in EU antitrust investigations in which the Commission informs the parties concerned about the objections raised against them.
Sending a statement of objections does not prejudge the final outcome of the procedure, the Commission says, and the companies can reply to its objections.
In a separate case, LG Display in November pleaded guilty to LCD price-fixing in the United States, along with Japan's Sharp Corp and Taiwan's Chunghwa Picture Tubes. LG Display paid $400 million in fines then.
A spokesman at Samsung Electronics, the world's No. 1 LCD maker and LG's home rival, declined to comment on the latest development but said it had been fully cooperating with the EU investigation, which started in 2006.
Philips set up LG Display with South Korea's LG Electronics in 1999 as a 50-50 joint venture. The Dutch firm sold out of LG Display in several share sales over the past years, with the last sale made in March 2009.-Reuters