The European Union’s competition watchdog has fined Sanyo Electric Co., Panasonic Corp. and Sony Corp. a total of 166 million euros (US$175 million) for colluding on prices for rechargeable batteries used in devices including laptops and smartphones, the Wall Street Journal reports.
Between 2004 and 2007 the companies agreed on temporary price increases and exchanged sensitive information, such as supply and demand forecasts or price forecasts, the European Commission said.
The EU said contact between cartel members took place primarily in Asia and only occasionally in Europe.
The EU’s antitrust chief, Margrethe Vestager, said the fine would send an important signal to companies.
“If European consumers are affected by a cartel, the commission will investigate it, even if the anticompetitive contacts took place outside Europe,” she said.
Sanyo was hit with the largest fine of 97 million euros, while Panasonic was fined 39 million euros. Sony was fined 29.8 million euros.
Samsung, which also participated in the cartel, escaped a fine of 58 million euros because it revealed the existence of the cartel, the EU said.
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