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OP 12/05/12 6:05:36 AM#1
(Reuters) - Philips, LG Electronics, Samsung SDI and three other firms were fined a record 1.47 billion euros ($1.92 billion) by EU antitrust regulators for fixing prices of TV and monitor cathode-ray tubes for nearly a decade.
"These cartels for cathode ray tubes are 'textbook cartels': they feature all the worst kinds of anti-competitive behavior that are strictly forbidden to companies doing business in Europe," EU Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia said in a statement.
He said the violations were especially harmful for consumers, as cathode ray tubes accounted for 50 to 70 percent of the price of a screen.
Cathode ray tubes have largely been replaced by more advanced display technologies such as liquid-crystal display (LCD), plasma display and organic light-emitting diodes.
The biggest fine prior to the cathode-ray tube cartel was 1.38 billion euros imposed on participants in a car glass cartel in 2008.
The Commission's sanctions followed a total fine of 128.74 million euros levied last year against four producers of the glass used in cathode-ray tubes.
And Chunghwa Picture Tubes, Samsung Electronics, LG Display and three other LCD companies were penalized a total 648 million euros two years ago for taking part in a cartel.