x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 19 January 2018

EU regulator sends TV makers clear signal

LG fell to the lowest in more than a month in Seoul trading after it was fined by the EU over price-fixing deals on now-obsolete cathode-ray tubes.

LG fell to the lowest in more than a month in Seoul after it was fined by the European Union over price-fixing deals on now-obsolete cathode-ray tubes used in televisions and computer monitors.

South Korea's second-largest electronics maker, which said it would appeal the ?491.6 million fine, dropped 1.5 per cent to 74,000 won, the lowest level since October 26.

Samsung SDI, an affiliate of Samsung, was also fined and fell 1.6 per cent. The nation's benchmark Kospi index added 0.1 per cent.

LG and Philips were among companies fined a record ?1.47 billion by EU antitrust regulators yesterday. The companies' price-fixing agreements sought to halt a slide in sales of cathode-ray tubes after customers switched to LCD and plasma sets, said regulators. Japan's Panasonic and Toshiba were also fined.

"For LG, the fine appears to be excessive, way more than the approximately 290bn won in provisions it set aside," said Kim Ji-san, an analyst at Kiwoom Securities. "Still, it's a one-time event so I think that the share-price drop will be short lived."

Samsung SDI was told to pay ?150.8m. The company said it was reviewing the ruling.

Panasonic, which was fined ?157.5m, said it was considering an appeal, calling the EU's decision "factually and legally erroneous". Panasonic's shares rose 0.5 per cent in Tokyo trading.

Toshiba said it would appeal its fine. Its shares also rose, up 0.7 per cent in Tokyo.

A spokesman for Philips said the company's fine was "disproportionate and unjustified", and said it would appeal

Antitrust watchdogs in the EU, Japan and South Korea raided companies in 2007 over concerns they colluded to fix prices for cathode-ray tubes. The firms fixed prices, shared markets, allocated customers among themselves and restricted their own output in two worldwide cartels between 1996 and 2006, said the EU.

* Bloomberg News