LG: We’ll fight “discriminatory” EC TV price-fixing fine

Dec 6, 2012
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LG will appeal the near-€500m European Commission fine for allegedly price-fixing CRT displays, arguing reduced liability as well as unfair treatment in comparison to the five other companies stung by the investigation. LG had no part in the running of LG Philips Displays post-July 2011, the company insists, despite the EC holding it liable. "For the period prior to the transfer of LG Electronics’ cathode ray tube business to LG Philips Displays," meanwhile, "any action by the European Commission is in any event time-barred."

Although LG doesn't agree that it should face a fine at all, it's also not pleased with how the EC has done its math. "It appears that the European Commission has calculated the fine imposed on LG Electronics partly on the basis of TV sets and PC monitors sold by LG Electronics in Europe rather than just cathode ray tubes" the company points out.

"LG Electronics objects to this approach as there is no evidence that such sales, which relate to downstream products, were affected by the alleged infringement investigated by the Commission."

The European Commission has concluded that LG - among others - had formed price-fixing cartels to keep the costs of cathode ray tube displays high in the market. The scheme, which the EC says was in operation for roughly a decade, led to $1.92 billion in fines for the six companies involved.

That the EC even found them guilty is a point of contention for LG, however. "Other leading competition authorities, including the Korean Fair Trade Commission, the US Department of Justice and the Canadian Competition Bureau have investigated the same facts and concluded that LG Electronics should not be held liable for the conduct of LG Philips Displays," John Kwon, Executive Vice President of LG Electronics, said in a statement.

"In Europe, the Czech Republic’s antitrust authority reached the same conclusion" Kwon continued. "LG Electronics fails to understand why the European Commission, which publicly values convergence of competition law enforcement, has taken a wholly different approach."

Finally, LG takes issue with the fact that each of the involved companies was fined a different amount, which it says "defies principles of fairness."


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