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

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.

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