EU imposes record fine on screen producers
BRUSSELS (AP) - The European Union on Wednesday imposed its biggest ever cartel fine of almost 1.5 billion euros (S$2.4 billion) on seven companies for fixing the market of television and computer monitor tubes.
The EU's Commission ruled that, for a decade ending in 2006, the companies - including Philips, LG Electronics and Panasonic - artificially set prices, shared markets and restricted their output at the expense of the consumer.
EU antitrust Commissioner Joaquin Almunia said that the companies' actions "feature all the worst kinds of anti-competitive behaviour that are strictly forbidden to companies doing business in Europe".
Tubes were the essential part of television screens and computer monitors before they were replaced by flatscreens. The cathode ray tubes accounted for up to 70 per cent of the cost of a screen, the Commission said.