Samsung pleads guilty to price-fixing CDTs

U.S. Justice Department orders South Korean conglomerate business unit to pay US$32 million fine for conspiring with others to fix prices on color display tubes.

The display business unit of Korean consumer electronics giant, Samsung, has pled guilty to price-fixing charges and will pay a fine of US$32 million, according to the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ).

In a statement Friday, the DOJ reported that Samsung SDI admitted to conspiring with others to fix prices on color display tubes (CDTs), a type of cathode ray tube found in computer monitors and other applications, and agreed to pay the fine.

The U.S. court said Samsung and its co-conspirators suppressed and eliminated competition by "by fixing prices, reducing output and allocating market shares of CDTs to be sold in the United States and elsewhere". Its list of accused included employees from companies such as Taiwan's Chunghwa Picture Tubes.

The conspirators also exchanged CDT sales, production, market share and pricing information for the purpose of monitoring and enforcing adherence to their agreements, it added.

The DOJ noted that the conspiracy began as early as January 1997 until as recent as March 2006.

The conspirators met in various Asian locations including Taiwan, Korea, Malaysia and China for discussions, said the court document, which did not reveal if the participants were limited to Asian companies.