LCD panel maker pleads guilty to price fixing

One of the larger manufacturers of LCD flat panels in the world has pleaded guilty to price fixing and will pay $220 million in fines.

The Department of Justice said Taiwanese manufacturer Chi Mei Optoelectronics took part in a conspiracy to fix the prices of TFT-LCD panels worldwide between September 14 2001 to December 1 2006.

Chi Mei will now cooperate with the DoJ’s antitrust investigation it’s currently pursuing.

Companies affected by the LCD conspiracy include Apple, Dell and HP.

Chi Mei agreed during meetings with other LCD manufacturers to fix prices and give quotations in concert with the co-conspirators.

Six companies have so far pled guilty to the charges and fines amount to over $860 million. Nine executives have also been charged as part of the conspiracy.

LG Display, Sharp and Chunghwa, as well as Hitachi Display, have already pleaded guilty to price fixing.

The real question is what dent these fines have made to the profitability of the companies involved in the conspiracy.