Seoul’s antitrust agency said yesterday it had fined 10 of the world’s leading flat panel makers in Taiwan and South Korea a total of 194 billion won (US$175 million) for price fixing.
Firms, including AU Optronics Corp (友達光電) and Chimei Innolux Corp (奇美電子) from Taiwan, and Samsung Electronics and LG Display in South Korea colluded from 2001 to 2006 to control prices of panels for computers and televisions, the South Korean Fair Trade Commission said.
“They colluded on minimum prices of panels, pricing policies on each product type, timing of price increases and a ban on cash rebates,” the commission said in a statement.
The offenders also included Taiwanese and Japanese units of both Samsung Electronics and LG Display, as well as Taiwan’s Chunghwa Picture Tubes Ltd (中華映管) and HannStar Display Crop (瀚宇彩晶), it said.
Officials from the firms involved held about 200 secret meetings over six years to agree on cutting or suspending production to prevent prices from falling and to exchange confidential information such as sales plans, it said.
“They were aware that such action was illegal and kept their gatherings and information secret,” the statement said.
The firms have a combined 80 percent share in the global LCD market, the commission said, adding that the cartel hurt consumers by increasing prices of computers, laptops and televisions.
Samsung Electronics, the world’s top flat-screen maker, and its overseas units were slapped with the heaviest fine of 97.2 billion won, followed by 65.5 billion won for LG Display and its foreign affiliates.
The fines by the commission — the largest it has ever imposed for a case of international price fixing — came three years after several major Asian LCD makers, including LG, were fined after a similar US probe.
In December last year, the European Commission also fined six Asian makers of LCD screens a total of 649 million euros (US$860 million at the time) for operating for almost five years as a cartel.
Samsung said it respected the regulator’s decision and would abide by it.
However, LG Display said it opposed the ruling and would appeal to the Seoul court to reduce the fine on the grounds that it had fully cooperated with the investigation.
Polytronics Technology Corp (聚鼎科技) yesterday announced that it is buying Henkel AG’s thermal clad dielectric material (TCLAD) business division for US$26 million as the Taiwanese firm aims to improve its technology, product portfolio and revenue performance. Polytronics, headquartered in the Hsinchu Science Park (新竹科學園區), is a supplier of protection components and heat dissipation materials. The firm entered the metallic heat-dissipation substrate market in 2007 and developed a unique solventless production process. Its board of directors approved signing an agreement with Henkel to acquire the German chemical firm’s TCLAD division in the US. The purchase includes all assets and business interests, including equipment,
SIZE MATTERS: Medium-sized hotels that do not have the support of parent groups are more vulnerable and are forced to take action, a REPro Knight Frank researcher said About 50 hotels across Taiwan are seeking to exit the market as they succumb to the bleak business outlook amid international travel restrictions imposed to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. Yomi Hotel (優美飯店) on Minsheng E Road, Sec 1, in Taipei is seeking to transfer ownership with an asking price of NT$950 million (US$32.15 million) and a pledge for a lease contract that guarantees a 3 percent return. The budget hotel, with room rates that start from NT$1,400 per night, maintains normal operations, but has been struggling since March, when the government placed restrictions on inbound and outbound travel. Occupancy rates for hotels in
With the US dollar expected to weaken in the next 12 months due to near-zero interest rates, investors should consider purchasing US corporate bonds, Standard Chartered Bank Taiwan Ltd (渣打台灣銀行) said on Thursday. The bank said that the US Federal Reserve since last month has been buying bonds issued by US companies to curb default rates. The US dollar is forecast to be weaker against the pound, the euro and the yen, as well as the Canadian dollar, the Swedish krona and the Swiss franc, as the greenback lacks high investment returns after the Fed in March slashed the benchmark interest rate
A Bollywood actor’s face tattooed on his arm, Sandeep Bacche’s devotion shocks few in India where stars enjoy semi-divine status, but even there the hallowed silver screen might be losing its shine to streaming services and pandemic fears. “Whenever things get better and theaters begin operations, I will watch three movies a day for sure just as a way to celebrate,” said the Mumbai rickshaw driver, who is recovering from the virus himself. However, others might not join the party. With cinemas shut for months due to a COVID-19 lockdown, and little prospect they will reopen soon, frustrated Bollywood producers have turned to