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Wednesday, November 21, 2007
Hitachi Maxell, Sony Comment on the European Commission?s Fine

Both Sony and Hitach commented today on the the recent fine orders the companies received by the European Comission, related to price-fixing activities for professional videotape products.

The European Commission ordered Hitachi Maxell, Ltd. and Hitachi Maxell?s subsidiary Maxell Europe Ltd. to pay a fine of 14.4M euro for infringing EU competition law in relation to the supply of certain professional videotape products in Europe. In addition, Sony Corporation, Sony France SA and Sony Europe Holding BV were also hit by a 47.19 million Euros fine for participating in a cartel in the professional video tape market in Europe.

"In relation to this matter, the European Commission carried out inspections at the premises of Maxell Europe in May 2002," Hitachi Maxell said in a stetement today. "Further, Hitachi Maxell and Maxell Europe received Statement of Objections from the European Commission on March 15, 2007, and on March 13, 2007. After receiving the Statement of Objections, Hitachi Maxell and Maxell Europe submitted written responses and provided supplemental spoken responses to the European Commission. Regarding this decision by the European Commission, Hitachi Maxell will examine the content in detail and consider an appropriate response," the company added.

"We are very disappointed by the conduct described in the announcement, which involved a small number of employees located in Europe," said Sony. "While the details still need to be confirmed in the full text of the Decision, Sony wants to make clear that it does not approve of or condone conduct of the kind described in the announcement. We are sorry that it happened and express our sincere regret," Sony added.

Sony also said that it is committed to complying fully with all applicable competition rules, including the EU antitrust rules, and it did not contest the principal matters described in the Commission's announcement after they had been formally communicated to Sony.

"Sony does not, however, agree with the allegation that it obstructed the Commission's investigation. The incidents in question were inappropriate and regrettable, but did not amount to obstruction and had no material impact on the Commission's investigation," Sony added.

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