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© tom_schmucker dreamstime.com Business | December 13, 2016

Rechargeable battery producers €166 million in cartel settlement

The European Commission has fined Sony, Panasonic and Sanyo a total of EUR 166 million.
The Commission states that the companies and Samsung SDI coordinated prices and exchanged sensitive information on supplies of rechargeable lithium-ion batteries – which is a breach of EU antitrust rules.

Samsung SDI was not fined as it was the company who revealed the existence of the cartel to the commission. All companies admitted to their involvement in the cartel and agreed to settle the case.

Fines:
  • Samsung SDI – EUR 0
  • Sony – EUR 29.802 million
  • Panasonic – EUR 38.890 million
  • Sanyo – EUR 97.149 million
The investigation found that Samsung SDI, Sony, Panasonic and Sanyo took part in bilateral, and sometimes multilateral, contacts in order to avoid aggressive competition in the market for lithium-ion batteries. Among other things, the four companies agreed on temporary price increases in 2004 and 2007 triggered by a temporary increase in the price of cobalt, a raw material used in the production of lithium-ion batteries. They also exchanged information on supply and demand forecasts, price forecasts or intentions concerning particular competitive bids organised by specific manufactures of products such as phones, laptops or power tools.

The cartel contacts took place mainly in Asia and occasionally in Europe. The cartel started in February 2004 and lasted until November 2007.

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