Firms must pay ?331 million for forming illegal cartel

EU fines chipmakers for price-fixing

The European Commission has fined nine chipmakers including Samsung and Toshiba a total of over €330 million for illegal price fixing.

The firms, which also include Hynix, Infineon, NEC, Hitachi, Mitsubishi, Elpida and Nanya, were given a ten per cent reduction in the penalty charge for “acknowledging the facts” of the case to the Commission.

A tenth company, Micron, was granted immunity from paying any part of the €331,273,800 fine as it informed authorities of the cartel in 2002.

"This first settlement decision is another milestone in the Commission’s anti-cartel enforcement. By acknowledging their participation in a cartel the companies have allowed the Commission to bring this long-running investigation to a close and to free up resources to investigate other suspected cartels. As the procedure is applied to new cases it is expected to speed up investigations significantly, said Commission vice president and competition commissioner Joaquín Almunia.

The only European firm among the group is Infineon, but all the manufacturers sell goods in the European Economic Area. According to the Commission, the case was also investigated in the US.

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