Samsung SDI has agreed to plead guilty and pay a $32 million (£19.5 million) fine for its involvement in a price-fixing controversy related to colour tubes used in computer monitors, the US Department of Justice said on Friday.
Samsung SDI allegedly played a role in a conspiracy to suppress and eliminate competition through price fixing, reduction of output and allocation of market share for CDTs (cathode display tubes), a type of cathode ray tube (CRT), to be sold in the US and other countries, according to a felony charge.
Samsung SDI, which manufactures display-related products, participated in the conspiracy from 1997 to 2006, the DOJ said. The company allegedly met other unnamed conspirators in Taiwan, South Korea, Malaysia, China and other places to discuss prices, output and market share of CDTs, the DOJ said. Samsung SDI and the co-conspirators also agreed to reduce CDT outputs by shutting production lines for certain periods of time and to exchange information to set prices.
As part of the plea agreement, Samsung SDI agreed to cooperate with the DOJ's ongoing CRT investigation. Samsung was charged with violating the Sherman Antitrust Act. Six individuals were also indicted in connection with the CDT investigation.
The US government has been investigating companies and individuals related to the price fixing and suppression of competition in the CRT market. In 2009, the DOJ said the worldwide market for CRTs, including CPTs and CDTs, was estimated at $26 billion at the start of the conspiracies in 1997.
A Samsung representative declined to comment.