LG and AUO will appeal EC panel price fixing fines

LG and AU Optronics have both said they will appeal a decision by the European Commission (EC), which is fining them for alleged price fixing.

The pair, along with Samsung, Chimei InnoLux, Chunghwa Picture Tubes and HannStar Display, were fined a total of $857 million by the EC yesterday, for reportedly operating a cartel between  October 2001 and February 2006. Around 60 consultations, dubbed “the Crystal meetings”, were held between the companies over this period where they agreed price ranges and minimum prices.

However, Samsung was spared after it grassed up the rest of the gang. LG and AUO received reduced fines of 50 percent and 20 percent for cooperating with the Commission, which brought total payments to $284 million and $154 million respectively.

Even this reduction hasn’t appeased AUO, which has announced that it will appeal. 

An AUO spokesman told Focus Taiwan that the company had cooperated with EU authorities over the past four years in their investigation into industry practices regarding the production and marketing of TFT-LCD products. He said the company would file the appeal with the General Court in Luxemburg and vigorously defend its business practices.
He said that the company would be able to request a hearing at an independent judiciary and get an objective arbitration.

LG also jumped on the bandwagon, telling the Associated Press that it too may appeal.

“LG Display acknowledges the wrongful acts of the past and respects the European Commission’s regulatory authority in this regard,” the company said in a statement.

However, it said it may appeal the decision “if it finds there were procedural or substantive due process issues with the investigation.”

ChiMei and Chunghwa said they are taking a closer look at the EU decision before taking their next steps. However, a ChiMei executive said the fine on his company was “really too harsh.”