Samsung, LG Electronics penalized for price-fixing

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Samsung, LG Electronics penalized for price-fixing

Korea’s antitrust watchdog yesterday fined two major electronics makers a combined 44.64 billion won ($38.6 million) for fixing prices of their major home appliance products.

Samsung Electronics and LG Electronics were fined 25.81 billion won and 18.83 billion won, respectively, for rigging prices of washing machines, flat-panel TVs and laptop computers, according to the Fair Trade Commission (FTC).

The two tech giants were found to have held secret meetings between 2008 and 2009 through which they colluded to keep washing machine prices at their agreed-upon levels.

Similar tactics were used in manipulating prices of flat-panel TVs and laptop computers, the FTC said. Through the secret meetings, the two companies were able to avoid excessive competition and raise prices.

Samsung and LG are leading players in each sector, with the two holding a combined 90 percent, 99 percent and 58 percent in the washing machine, flat-panel TVs and laptop computer markets in terms of their 2010 sales, according to the FTC.

“Their price-rigging caused damage to many consumers by leading the prices of washing machines, flat-panel TVs and laptop computers to rise more than other competing products,” the FTC said in a press release.

The watchdog has been intensifying its crackdown on price-rigging and other anticompetitive activity that could result in price hikes on products closely related to the daily livelihoods of ordinary people. It said it will continue its monitoring and mete out tough punishments on those who violate the fair trade law.


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