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LCD Makers Reach Price Fixing Settlements

12/28/2011 01:40:49 PM Eastern
San Francisco - Seven companies will pay $553 million to settle a lawsuit for alleged price fixing on LCDs used in televisions and computer monitors, more than five years ago.

A series of legal actions for alleged international price fixing on LCD panels, named Chi Mei Innolux Corp., Chunghwa Picture Tubes, Epson Imaging Devices, HannStar Display, Hitachi Displays, Samsung Electronics and Sharp, along with U.S. affiliates for antitrust claims by eight states and class-action attorneys.

The New York State Attorney General's office disclosed some of the settlements to the press on Tuesday.

Under the agreements, $501 million will be available for partial refunds to consumers in 24 states and the District of Columbia who purchased products containing TFT-LCD panels from Jan. 1, 1999 through Dec. 31, 2006.

States seeking compensation in the cases included: Arkansas, California, Florida, Michigan, Missouri, New York, West Virginia and Wisconsin.

Documents in the Federal District Court in San Francisco show Samsung agreeing to pay $240 million, Sharp agreeing to $115.5 million and Taiwan-based Chimei Innolux agreeing to $110.3 million in the latest round of actions.

Also, Hitachi Displays is to pay $39 million, HannStar Display will pay $25.7 million; Chunghwa Picture Tubes will pay $5.3 million, and Epson Imaging Devices will pay $2.9 million.

The state penalties include $6 million to be paid by Sharp and $5.7 million by Chimei, among others.

Samsung declined to comment on pending litigation. Other companies named in the action could not be reached as this was posted.

In the documents, a number of the companies still disputed the charges, but agreed to establish antitrust compliance programs and to help prosecute other defendants as terms of the settlement.

Court approval is still pending on the settlement actions.

A number of companies have already pleaded guilty to antitrust violations and paid more than $890 million in fines.

Other defendants that have yet to settle include Taiwan-based AU Optronics; LG Display and Toshiba.

The settlements are the latest to come from a number of lawsuits that had charged LCD panel makers with illegally inflating prices and stifling competition in LCD panels between 1999 and 2006.

Probes were initially launched into the alleged anti-competitive practices in 2006 in Japan, Korea, the European Union and the United States.

Other defendants that have yet to settle, including Taiwan-based AU Optronics Corp, one of the largest LCD panel manufacturers; South Korea's LG Display Co and Toshiba Corp.
 

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