Taiwan’s TYC Brother Industrial Co (TYC, 堤維西), which makes lighting products used in vehicles, and indoor and outdoor lighting fixtures, has agreed to jointly pay a US antitrust class-action settlement valued at US$23 million, the company said in a filing to the Taiwan Stock Exchange on Saturday.
The suit, brought by US auto parts maker, Sabry Lee Inc, threatens to strip the Greater Tainan-based company of any earnings this year given that its data showed a net profit of NT$161 million (US$5.4 million) for the first three quarters.
“The suit resulted in heavy financial losses for the company and an unforgettable personal scar,” TYC chairman Wu Chun-chi (吳俊佶) said in the filing.
A top manager at Genera Corp, the exclusive distribution arm of TYC-brand automotive products in North America, died of a heart attack a few months after the suit was filed in September 2008, Wu said, adding the antitrust litigation put tremendous pressure on the manager.
In addition to the cash settlement, TYC is to provide production concessions equivalent to US$2 million, the filing said.
TYC was not available for comment on the settlement over the weekend.
Local media said the company plans to book the expenses in three payments by the end of the year, but needs to discuss details with its US distributor.
The company decided to cooperate with US investigators in the hope of mitigating damage claims after taking the advice of its legal counsel, TYC said.
“All the defendant companies lost and learned an expensive lesson,” Wu said.
It is not fair to brand TYC a mole or a snitch, Wu said, adding that other firms also sought to assist in the probe, but were rejected by the US court due to their belated offers.
Other Taiwanese defendant companies include Depo Auto Parts Co (帝寶工業) in Changhwa County and Eagle Eyes Co (龍鋒企業) in Greater Tainan, which both supply aftermarket automobile parts in North America.
Wu urged the government to provide assistance and information on similar litigation that could hurt other firms in the future.
TYC posted NT$1.51 billion in revenue last month, rising 16.96 percent from a year earlier, the company said in a separate filing earlier on Saturday. Its cumulative sales amounted to NT$15.03 billion as of the end of last month, up 8.94 percent from the same period last year.
TYC’s shares closed up 1.5 percent to NT$16.95 on Friday, outpacing the TAIEX, which closed up 0.19 percent, stock exchange data showed.