The European Commission (EC) has imposed fines of €137,789,000 on Melco (Mitsubishi Electric) and Hitachi for participating in a cartel for alternators and starters with another firm, Denso, in breach of EU antitrust rules.
EC did not fine Denso as it revealed the existence of the cartel to the Commission. All companies acknowledged their involvement and agreed to settle the case.
According to the European antitrust authority, the three Japanese car parts manufacturers coordinated prices and allocated customers or projects with regards to alternators and starters for more than five years. Alternators and starters are two important components of car engines.
The cartel affected European customers as alternators and starters were also sold directly to car manufacturers in the EEA.
For their cooperation with the investigation, Hitachi and Melco benefited from reductions of their fines.
As part of the settlement, Hitachi and Hitachi Automotive Systems will pay the European Commission a fine of 26.86 million euros (approx. 3.45 billion yen).
"Hitachi and Hitachi Automotive Systems are committed to ensuring to comply with all applicable antitrust laws or competition laws by instituting several measures to prevent recurrence, including strengthening of internal guidelines, educational training sessions for employees by utilizing manuals etc. and the occurrence of audits at regular intervals," the Japanese companies said.
Melco paid 110.29 million euros.