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EU's Court of Justice upholds fines imposed on Samsung for participation cartel

Staff Writer |
By decision of 5 December 2012,1 the Commission imposed fines totalling approximately €1.47 billion on seven undertakings which had participated in one or two separate cartels on the market for cathode ray tubes (CRTs) between 1996/1997 and 2006.

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A CRT is an evacuated glass envelope containing an electron gun and a fluorescent screen.

At the material time, there were two different types of CRT: colour display tubes for computer monitors (CDTs) and colour picture tubes for television sets (CPTs).

They were essential components for the production of computer monitors or colour televisions and came in a number of different sizes. Those types of CRT were the subject of two infringements, namely a CDT cartel and a CPT cartel.

The cartels consisted, in essence, of price-fixing, market- and customer-sharing and output limitations.

Furthermore, the participating undertakings regularly exchanged commercially sensitive information.

Samsung SDI participated in the two cartels directly and through its subsidiary Samsung SDI (Malaysia) (Samsung SDI also participated in the CPT cartel through another of its subsidiaries, Samsung SDI Germany). The Commission therefore imposed a fine of €69 418 000 jointly and severally on Samsung SDI and Samsung SDI (Malaysia) in the context of the CDT cartel.

Furthermore, in the context of the CPT cartel, the Commission imposed a fine of €81 424 000 jointly and severally on Samsung SDI, Samsung SDI (Malaysia) and Samsung SDI Germany.

The three undertakings brought an action before the General Court for the annulment of the Commission’s decision on the infringement in relation to CPTs and for the reduction of their fines for the infringements in relation to CPTs and to CDTs.

By judgment of 9 September 2015, 2 the General Court rejected the action and, consequently, upheld the fines imposed on the three companies.

Samsung SDI and Samsung SDI (Malaysia) then brought an appeal before the Court of Justice, asking the Court to set aside the judgment of the General Court and to annul the fines imposed.

By this judgment, Court of Justice of the European Union dismisses the appeal and confirms the fines imposed jointly and severally on Samsung SDI and Samsung SDI (Malaysia).

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