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EU regulator hands out 116m euros cartel fine for disc drive makers

[BRUSSELS] The European Commission has handed out a 116 million euros (US$131.73 million) fine to producers of optical disc drives, having found them guilty of colluding on price.

The Commission, which acts as the competition watchdog in the 28-member European Union, said the largest fine of 41.3 million euros was for a joint venture of Toshiba and Samsung Electronics, while Sony, Hitachi-LG Data Storage and Quanta Storage were also fined. "The anticompetitive conduct subject to fines in this case concerns agreements to collude in procurement tenders for optical disk drives for laptops and desktops produced by Dell and Hewlett Packard (HP)," the Commission said in a statement.

Philips and its joint venture partner Lite-On were also found guilty but not fined because they had alerted regulators to the cartel, the Commission added. "Millions of EU citizens use devices integrating optical disc drives all the time, for example when storing their favourite pictures on a disc. Keeping these markets competitive is important," European Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said. "Today's decision demonstrates once again that cartelists cannot escape fines just by holding their meetings in cinemas and car parks outside Europe, while selling their products in Europe," she continued.

REUTERS