© tom schmucker Business | March 22, 2018

EUR 254 million fine for 8 capacitor makers

The European Commission has fined Elna, Hitachi Chemical, Holy Stone, Matsuo, NEC Tokin, Nichicon, Nippon Chemi-Con, Rubycon for EUR 253'935'000. Together with the immunity applicant, Sanyo, they operated a cartel for the supply of aluminium and tantalum electrolytic capacitors between 1998 and 2012.

Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, in charge of competition policy said: "Capacitors are an essential part of almost all electronic products, ranging from smart phones to appliances in our homes, electronic systems in our cars and wind turbines producing electricity. The nine companies fined today colluded to maximise their profits. This may have happened not only at the expense of manufacturers but also of consumers. Our decision again makes clear that we will not tolerate anti-competitive conduct that may affect European consumers, even if anticompetitive contacts take place outside Europe." The Commission's investigation found that from 1998 to 2012, nine Japanese companies participated in multilateral meetings and engaged in bilateral or trilateral contacts to exchange commercially sensitive information. The objective was to coordinate future behaviour and avoid price competition. In particular, the companies exchanged information on future prices and pricing intentions, and on future supply and demand information. In some instances, the participants also concluded price agreements and monitored their implementation. The investigation found that the cartel participants were aware of the anti-competitive nature of their behaviour, as evidenced by their intention to conceal it. For example, messages exchanged between the companies or internal emails containing reports of the meetings included mentions such as "Discard after reading", "After reading this email, please destroy it without stowing it away", "Since the gathering should not be disclosed to the public, please be careful when handling the contents of the present report." The meetings involved discussions between senior managers and occasionally even presidents. The meetings and contacts took place mainly in Japan, but the cartel conduct was implemented on a global scale, including in the European Economic Area (EEA). Fines
Supplier groupReduction under the Leniency NoticeFine (EUR)
SANYO Electric Co., Ltd. and Panasonic Corp.100%0
Hitachi Chemical Electronics Co., Ltd. and Hitachi Chemicals Co., Ltd.35%18'476'000
Rubycon Corp. and Rubycon Holdings Co., Ltd.30%28'424'000
ELNA co., Ltd.15%18'162'000
TOKIN Corp. and NEC Corp.15%16'445'000
Matsuo Electric Co., Ltd.824'000
Nichicon Corp.72'901'000
NIPPON CHEMI-CON Corp.97'921'000
Vishay Polytech Co., Ltd, Holy Stone Holdings Co., Ltd. and Holy Stone Enterprise Co., Ltd.782'000
“We are pleased to have one more jurisdiction complete its review and announce its findings concerning our subsidiary Tokin, as it removes more uncertainty related to the total liability. We anticipated this range of settlement, and previously accrued a liability to the Tokin Balance Sheet related to the European Union as well as included it in our future cash flow expectations. This settlement brings the Tokin group closer to closing this chapter in its history. Several of the previous fines assessed to Tokin permit payments over time, between five and eight years, and will not have a material impact on our operating cash flows in future periods”, stated Per Loof, Kemet's Chief Executive Officer.
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December 16 2019 2:19 pm V14.8.8-2