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Brussels fines Philips €500m for its role in cathode ray tube cartels

Wednesday 05 December 2012

Dutch electronics giant Philips is one of seven companies fined a total €1.47bn by the European Commission for operating cathode ray tube cartels.

The two worldwide cartels operated between 1996 and 2006 and involved fixing prices, sharing markets, allocating customers and restricting output, the commission said in a statement.

One cartel concerned colour picture tubes used for televisions and the other colour display tubes used in computer monitors, the commission said. Philips, Chunghwa, LG Electronics, Philips and Samsung SDI participated in both cartels.

Philips was fined €313m for its role in one cartel and a further €392m together with partner LG Electronics for its role in the other.

Textbook cartels

'These cartels for cathode ray tubes are 'textbook cartels': they feature all the worst kinds of anti-competitive behaviour which are strictly forbidden to companies doing business in Europe,' EU competition commissioner Joaquín Almunia said.

Cathode ray tubes accounted for 50% to 70% of the price of a screen and 'this gives an indication of the serious harm this illegal behaviour has caused both to television and computer screen producers... and European consumers over the years.'

Philips said it will appeal against the ruling. 'We believe the fine which relates to a business that was divested in 2001 is disproportionate and unjustified,' chief executive Frans van Houten said in a statement.

© DutchNews.nl


Readers' Comments

Who gets the money?!

By samuel goldstein | 5 December 2012 3:31 PM

Yep, this is shockingly disproportionate. It's short-sighted to place such burdens on our generators of wealth. The government is not up to the task of creating jobs and growth; we shouldn't be so hasty to cripple those that are.

By slim jim | 5 December 2012 3:49 PM

@samuel goldstein: I suspect it's going to be channeled through the 'Greek' banks back to 'the creditors' using one of the next 'rescue' packages.

By kakos | 5 December 2012 4:31 PM

@ Samuel, we sure won't! the European Commission slaps it's child s hands again :( its not bad enough that it tells countries what they can do and can't do.... they also have the power to tell company's what they can and can't not do.... its a shame. You would think that the EU commission would have more important things on the plate to tend to.

By dee | 5 December 2012 5:00 PM

I bought a Philips (Phlip-flop) wide scream monitor 3 months ago. The cheap plastic stand that it is mounted on is so thin & shoddy & wobbles, unbelievably made to break easily, and on purpose!

This to me is a lot worse than cartels, all the models are the same, utter crap! Had I not been in such a hurry & noticed this, 'would never have bothered! :P

By The visitor | 5 December 2012 6:34 PM

Finally some thieves are getting caught, just when the whole world is wondering what is the EU commission actually useful for...

By noThivery | 5 December 2012 6:50 PM

It's interesting to read comments that appear to absolve corruption from large corporations on the pretext that they are "wealth generators" To my mind this fact makes the crime even worse and is no better than the constantly harped on corruption from Greece.Hit them hard I say and hit them where it hurts...in the pocket.When corporations exercise a cartel, they profit at the expense of the comsumer....that's you and I.!Well done European regulators.

By mario | 5 December 2012 7:41 PM

Daylight robbery by EC. No wonder people wants EC to cease.

By ufo | 6 December 2012 11:51 AM

mario - "they profit at the exp of consumer' - up to a certain extent, they created employment which are heavily tax by gov, they paid high tax to gov, consumer also pay high tax to gov. As first offender, they should not be fine so heavily.

By ufo | 6 December 2012 11:55 AM

People, are you arguing in favour of abolishing cartel laws? This is outrageous!

By random | 6 December 2012 11:39 PM

@slim jim... It is short sighted to call this action short sighted. These companies limited production (which limits jobs) in order to make higher profits. Companies do not hire people simply because they are making too much money. They line their pockets with gold, limit job growth to only what is necessary, and shift the balance of power to those who have at the expense of those who have not.

Kudos to the government for handling a voids abuse of power at the expense of the general public!

By Tony | 8 December 2012 5:32 PM

@random: here here!

By The visitor | 8 December 2012 9:43 PM

I purchased one, can I get a rebate or does to money serve the wining and dining of the Bruxelles administrators?

By Terence Hale | 9 December 2012 5:25 PM

Panasonic are better anyway.

By Roy | 10 December 2012 9:24 AM

@ ufo,So companies pay high taxes!
Have you been reading the news lately?
NS buying trains via an Irish subsidiary to avoid Dutch taxes, Starbucks in UK operating via NL to avoid UK taxes. Big business often pay lower percentage taxes than the rest of us. Cartels are about closing the market to competition to guarantee profits for the companies involved.

By Donaugh | 10 December 2012 10:18 AM

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