Cade convicts cartel in the market of computer LCD monitors
In the judgment session that took place this Wednesday (02/27), the Tribunal of the Administrative Council for Economic Defense (Cade, in its acronym in Portuguese) convicted two companies and 17 people for the cartel in the international market of thin film transistor liquid crystal display (TFT-LCD), with effects in Brazil. The fines imposed amount to BRL 27,4 million.
According to the commissioner that reported the case, Maurício Oscar Bandeira Maia, the collusion operated between 2001 and 2006. During this period, Brazil didn't manufacture the product, which is the main component of monitors and LCD notebooks, and the country depended entirely on importations.
Thus, the cartel affected competition and caused harm to the national companies that acquired the product from the represented parties in a global scale, as well as the Brazilian consumers who bought monitors and notebooks with that technology.
The proofs pointed out that the participants of the cartel made use of price fixing, market division, sharing commercially sensitive information and restriction of production, controlling the supply and demand of the product. The practice was possible through e-mails and regular periodic meetings between the companies’ representatives, normally within the interval of a month.
"The cartel manipulated costs and the offer conditions of the product all over the world. As the products consumed in Brazil depended exclusively on the market abroad, an eventual distortion of the global market necessarily affected Brazil", explained Bandeira Maia.
Furthermore, the involved parties controlled collectively the offer of TFT-LCD aiming to inflate prices. This conduct contributed so that the "Brazilian consumers paid more for imported products with that technology", concluded the rapporteur.
For anticompetitive practices, the companies Chimei Innolux Corporation and Hannstar Display shall pay in fines, respectively, BRL 13.183.797,82 and BRL 13.528.267,59.
Chimei is a signing part of a partial leniency agreement with Cade and, due to the company collaboration with this case investigation, their fine was decreased in two-thirds.
On the other hand, employees connected to the companies will be responsible for the payment of BLR 700,5 thousand, in total.
Other companies and people represented in the process signed a Cease and Desist Agreement (TCC, in its acronym in Portuguese) with Cade throughout the investigation.
The TCCs were signed by LG Display, LG Electronics Taiwan Taipei, LG Electronics, Samsung Electronics Taiwan, Samsung Electronics, Au Optronics (successor of Quanta Displays by incorporation), Chunghwa Picture Tubes and Japan Display (successor of Hitachi Displays).
In total, BRL 79,3 million were collected as pecuniary contribution.