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
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.