EU charges Philips, others with price-fixing

AP News
Posted: Nov 26, 2009 6:13 AM

European Union antitrust regulators have charged Royal Philips Electronics NV and others with running a cartel to fix the price of cathode ray tubes used in televisions and computer monitors, the EU executive and Philips said Thursday.

The European Commission did not name any of the companies it had charged. It said companies can defend themselves in writing and at an oral hearing before it decides to levy fines which can run as high as up to 10 percent of annual global turnover for each year the cartel operated.

Philips said in a statement that it had received the charges and "intends to continue assisting the regulatory authorities in these investigations."

The EU has fined companies involved in cartels billions of euros (dollars) in recent years, saying its crackdown on illegal agreements that limit competition has saved European consumers over euro7.6 billion from 2005 to 2007.

The EU probe focuses on cathode ray tubes used in computer monitors and color picture tubes used in televisions, and builds on surprise raids on companies to seek evidence in November 2007.

In July, regulators also charged Philips with fixing the price of liquid crystal display monitors. Philips said it would oppose the allegation that it was jointly liable for a cartel operated by South Korea's LG Display. It sold its remaining stake in LG Display in March.