EU levies $1.9 billion fine on screen producers including Philips, LG, Panasonic

BRUSSELS – The European Union has imposed a massive fine of almost US$2 billion on seven international companies for fixing the market of television and computer monitor tubes for a decade ending in 2006.

The EU’s competition watchdog says the companies artificially set prices, shared markets and restricted their output for their profit at the expense of consumers.

The companies include Philips, LG Electronics and Panasonic.

EU antitrust commissioner Joaquin Almunia say the cartels “feature all the worst kinds of anticompetitive behaviour that are strictly forbidden to companies doing business in Europe.”

Tubes were the essential part of television screens and computer monitors before they were replaced by flatscreens.