AU Optronics Corp (AUO, 友達光電), the nation’s second-biggest LCD panel maker, yesterday said it planned to lodge an appeal against a decision by a South Korean competition watchdog, according to which AUO and several other LCD panel manufacturers have broken that country’s anti-trust rules.
The anti-trust allegation from South Korea’s Fair Trade Commission was the latest result in a slew of price-fixing investigations into AUO and its local rivals, including Chimei Innolux Corp (奇美電子), in the US and in Europe, some of which have brought local firms huge damage claims and sent high-ranking executives to jail in recent years.
“This is the first time AUO was investigated by South Korea’s Fair Trade Commission. We will appeal [against its decision],” an official at AUO’s public relations department said on the telephone yesterday.
No damage was revealed in the documents sent from the South Korean agency yet, AUO said in a filing to the Taiwan Stock Exchange yesterday. The company did not disclose any details.
Other Taiwanese panel makers — Chimei, the nation’s top LCD panel maker, Chunghwa Picture Tubes Ltd (中華映管) and HannStar Display Corp (瀚宇彩晶) — said they were not aware of the anti-trust investigation as of press time yesterday.
Separately, Chimei said in a company statement that revenues rose 0.5 percent last month to NT$41.22 billion (US$1.42 billion), compared with NT$41.03 billion in June. On an annual basis, poseted revenues for last month declined 10.25 percent from NT$45.93 billion.
Shipments of TV and PC flat panels increased 4.9 percent to 12.93 million units, from June’s 12.32 million units. The shipments expanded about 26 percent from 10.24 million units a year ago.
On Monday, AUO said its consolidated sales fell 15.8 percent year-on-year to NT$32.74 billion last month, up 4.7 percent month-on-month.
Shipments of large-sized panels grew 6.6 percent month-on-month to over 9.81 million units last month, while those for small-and-medium-sized panels were down 5.8 percent to more than 15.58 million units, AUO said.