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Philips Gets EU Antitrust Complaint on Cathode-Ray Tubes

June 06, 2012

Royal Philips Electronics NV (PHIA) received an antitrust complaint from European Union regulators as part of a probe into the cathode-ray tube industry.

Philips “received a supplementary statement of objections” from the European Commission, said Joost Akkermans, a spokesman for the company in Amsterdam. He declined to comment further.

LG Electronics Inc. (066570) also received a formal complaint from the EU, according to two people familiar with the matter. The region’s antitrust regulator made the complaints against LG and Philips to hold them responsible for the behavior of LG.Philips Displays, a now-defunct joint venture that made the tubes for televisions and computer monitors, said the people, who declined to be named because the matter isn’t public.

The commission confirmed sending supplementary statements of objections last week and declined to name the companies involved. The Brussels-based commission can fine companies accused of operating a cartel as much as 10 percent of their annual sales.

LG Electronics didn’t immediately respond to a call and e- mails to its Seoul offices after normal business hours.

Regulators have had mixed results with efforts to raise penalties against parent companies for competition-law violations by their units. ArcelorMittal SA last year won a reduction of nearly 185 million euros ($231 million) in EU cartel fines after the commission said it couldn’t force the company to pay the share of the overall penalty earmarked for some of its units. Akzo Nobel NV lost a 2009 appeal over its financial liability for a unit’s violations.

LCD, Plasma Screens

Philips received an initial complaint in the EU probe in 2009, following raids in November 2007 by regulators in the EU, Japan and South Korea to examine concerns over price-fixing for tubes in computer monitors and color televisions. LG.Philips Displays’ European holding company was declared bankrupt in 2006 as cathode-ray tube sales fell and consumers switched to slimmer liquid-crystal display and plasma displays.

LG Display Co., an affiliate of Seoul-based LG Electronics, was among companies fined 648.9 million euros by the EU in 2010 for fixing the price of LCD panels used in televisions, computer monitors and notebook computers.

To contact the reporter on this story: Aoife White in Brussels at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Anthony Aarons at

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