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 Home > News > Consumer Electronics > EU Fine...
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Tuesday, November 20, 2007
EU Fines Japanese Videotape Producers For Price Fixing Cartel

The European Commission hit Sony and two other Japanese producers of videotape with fines totaling nearly 75 million euros ($109.8 million) on Tuesday for fixing prices.

"Between 1999 and 2002, Sony, Fuji and Maxell managed to raise or otherwise control prices through a series of regular meetings and other illicit contacts," the EC said in a statement.

Sony's fine has been increased by 30% for obstructing the Commission's investigation during on-site inspections at its premises. Fuji's and Maxell's fines are reduced by 40% and 20% respectively because they co-operated with the investigation, according to the statement.

Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes said: "This decision sends two warnings to companies engaging in cartel activities: first, the Commission can prosecute cartels effectively even without prompts from immunity applicants, and second, obstructing a Commission's antitrust investigation leads to severe penalties."

The cartel covered the two most popular professional videotape formats at the time -- Betacam SP and Digital Betacam. Sony, Fuji and Maxell have a combined share of more than 85% of the professional video tape market.

The Commission started an investigation with raids on EU subsidiaries of Sony, Fuji and Maxell in May 2002.

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