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Appeared on: Wednesday, October 21, 2015
EU Fines Optical Disc Drive Makers €116 million For Cartel

The European Commission has fined eight optical disc drive suppliers a total of €116 million for having coordinated their behaviour in relation to procurement tenders organised by two computer manufacturers, in breach of EU antitrust rules.

The anticompetitive conduct subject to fines concerns agreements to collude in procurement tenders for CDs, DVDs or Blu-ray drives for laptops and desktops produced by Dell and Hewlett Packard (HP).

Philips, Lite-On, their joint venture Philips & Lite-On Digital Solutions, Hitachi-LG Data Storage, Toshiba Samsung Storage Technology, Sony, Sony Optiarc and Quanta Storage Eight were engaged in the illegal practices according to the European Comission.

Philips, Lite-On and their joint venture Philips & Lite-On Digital Solutions received full immunity from fines as they were the first to reveal the existence of the cartel.

The Commission's investigation revealed that between June 2004 and November 2008, the companies participating in the cartel communicated to each other their intentions regarding bidding strategies, shared the results of procurement tenders and exchanged other commercially sensitive information concerning ODDs used in laptops and desktops. They organised a network of parallel bilateral contacts that pursued a single plan to avoid aggressive competition in procurement tenders organised by Dell and HP.

"The companies were aware that their behaviour was illegal and tried to conceal their contacts and to evade detection of their arrangements. For example, they avoided naming the competitors concerned in their internal correspondence but used abbreviations or generic names," the European antitrust regulators said.

Hitachi-LG Data Storage received a 50% reduction on its fine for its cooperation in the investigation and partial immunity for enabling the regulators to establish a longer duration of the cartel.

The breakdown of the fines imposed to each company for their participation in the cartel is as follows:

Fine before adjustment (€)

Fine (€)

Philips

10,461,000

0

Lite-On

31,366,000

0

Philips,&,Lite-On Digital Solutions

22,037,000

0

Hitachi-LG Data,Storage

74,243,000

37,121,000

Toshiba Samsung Storage Technology

73,833,000

41,304,000

Sony

18,062,000

21,024,000

Sony Optiarc

10,085,000

9,782,000

Quanta Storage

7,146,000

7,146,000





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