BRUSSELS – Philips, LG Electronics, Samsung SDI and three other firms were fined a record 1.47 billion euros ($1.92 billion) by EU antitrust regulators on Wednesday for fixing prices of TV cathode-ray tubes in two cartels lasting nearly a decade.
The biggest penalty, of 313.4 million euros, was imposed on Dutch-based Philips, followed by LG Electronics with 295.6 million euros.
The European Commission fined Panasonic Corp 157.5 million euros, Samsung SDI 150.8 million euros, Toshiba Corp. 28 million euros, and French company Technicolor 38.6 million euros.
Two Panasonic joint ventures were also fined. Taiwanese firm Chunghwa Picture Tubes blew the whistle on the cartel and escaped a fine.
"These cartels for cathode ray tubes are 'textbook cartels': they feature all the worst kinds of anticompetitive behavior that are strictly forbidden to companies doing business in Europe," EU Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia said in a statement.
He will hold a news conference on the case at 6:30 a.m. Eastern Time (1130 GMT) on Wednesday.
The Commission raided the companies in late 2007.
($1 = 0.7642 euros)
(This story clarifies that fines were for two cartels, each lasting a decade)
(Reporting by Foo Yun Chee; editing by Rex Merrifield)