Philips, Samsung, Infineon ‘Face EC Antitrust Fines’

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Philips, Samsung and Infineon may reportedly be fined by the European Commission within the next few weeks for alleged chip price-fixing

Philips, Samsung Electronics and Infineon Technologies reportedly face antitrust fines from the European Commission within the next few weeks over allegations of price-fixing.

The companies may be fined in “late July or possibly September”, according to two unnamed sources cited by Reuters on Tuesday, following a court case, which involves an alleged cartel controlling the prices of the chips used in mobile phone SIM cards, passports, bank cards, identity cards and televisions.

European antitrust authorities carried out dawn raids on the companies in 2008 and issued a charge against them in 2013.

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Price-fixing

The companies had at first sought to settle the case, which would have involved admitting guilt in return for a 10 percent cut in sanctions, but settlement talks ended without a result last year.

Renesas Technology was responsible for alerting the Commission to the alleged cartel, and as a result Renesas will not face a fine, according to Reuters’ sources. Renesas Technology was initially a joint venture between Hitachi and Mitsubishi Electric, and was bought by Renesas Electronics in 2010.

Renesas told Reuters it had no knowledge of the fines. The EC, Philips and Infineon declined to comment, while Samsung was not immediately available to comment, according to Reuters.

Philips said last year that the EC charges related to activities carried out by its semiconductor business between 2003 and 2004. The unit has since been sold.

Under EU rules, companies can be charged up to 10 percent of their global turnover for a breach of antitrust regulations.

Google and Intel have both recently faced high-profile antitrust actions by the EC.

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