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EU fines Sony, Panasonic for rechargeable battery cartel

[BRUSSELS] EU regulators on Monday fined Japanese electronics giants Sony, Panasonic and Sanyo a total of 166 million euros (S$251.96 million) for colluding on prices for rechargeable batteries.

The European Commission, the EU's executive arm, said the three companies "coordinated prices and exchanged sensitive information" between 2004 and 2007 on rechargeable lithium-ion batteries.

South Korea's Samsung also participated in the cartel, but was not fined as it had revealed the existence of the cartel to the commission.

"Millions of Europeans use laptops, mobile phones and power tools that run on rechargeable lithium-ion batteries," the EU's competition chief Margrethe Vestager said in a statement.

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"Today's decision sanctions four rechargeable battery producers whose collusion affected the prices of a number of goods sold to European consumers," she added.

All the companies had agreed to their responsibility in the case and had accepted the fines, the commission said.

Sanyo, which is now owned by Panasonic, received the biggest fine of 97 million euros.

The commission slapped Panasonic with a fine of 39.9 million euros and Sony with 29.8 million euros.