© tom_schmucker Business | January 12, 2018

Four capacitor manufactures fined for price-fixing

The Competition Commission of Singapore (CCS) has issued an infringement decision – carrying a fine of SGD 19.5 million (EUR 12,10 million) – against five capacitor manufacturers of engaging in anti-competitive agreements.

These agreements include price-fixing and exchanging confidential sales, distribution and pricing information for Aluminium Electrolytic Capacitors (AECs) in relation to customers in Singapore, a press release from CCS reads. The parties are said to have sold these components to OEM, EMS as well as distributors that resell capacitors to other end-user costumers. International Procurement Offices based in Singapore that are in charge of procuring and supplying capacitors to customers or affiliates located in and outside Singapore are also mentioned in the press release. CCS started investigating the matter after it received an application for immunity under it’s leniency programme from Panasonic. The companies that participated in the activities are Rubycon Singapore, ELNA Electronics, Nichicon Singapore, Singapore Chemi-con (SCC) and Panasonic who received full immunity. The investigations revealed that the companies – who were close competitors – held regular meetings in Singapore where they exchanged confidential and commercially sensitive business information such as customer quotations, sales volumes, production capacities, business plans and pricing strategies. CCS also states that the parties discussed and agreed on sales prices, including various price increases and agreed to collectively reject customers’ requests for reduction in prices of AECs sold to them. The illegal activity is said to have started already back in 1997 and senior level employees of the companies regularly attended the meetings; almost on a monthly basic up until 2013, the press release continues. There have been similar investigations (some are still ongoing) in relation to cartel conduct involving AECs by the United States Department of Justice, China’s National Development and Reform Commission, the Japan Fair Trade Commission, the Korea Fair Trade Commission, the Taiwan Fair Trade Commission, and the European Commission. “Cartels among suppliers cause serious harm to competition in the market, leaving businesses and end-consumers in a poorer bargaining position and facing less competitive prices. This is CCS’s third case involving a global cartel and Singapore being such an open market, can be impacted by such cross-border cartels. CCS will continue to take strong enforcement action to ensure that cartels do not negatively impact Singapore markets and its competitiveness,” Mr. Toh Han Li, Chief Executive, CCS said. The final fine – which is said to be CCS’ highest to date – where based on the fact that the parties held more than two-thirds of the share of the market for the sale of AECs in Singapore, as well as the long duration of the cartel activities.
CompanyFinancial Penalty
ElNASGD 853,227
NichiconSGD 6,987,262
PanasonicSGD 0
RubyconSGD 4,718,170
SCCSGD 6,993,805
TotalSGD 19,552,464
Besides Panasonic which received total immunity from financial penalties, ELNA, Rubycon and SCC were also awarded a discount further to their application for leniency under CCS’s leniency programme which accords lenient treatment to companies that come forward to CCS with information on their cartel activities.
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