Sixth LCD Manufacturer To Plead Guilty In Price-Fixing Case


CMO, in a brief statement released Thursday, said it reached the plea agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice, which has been investigating allegations of anticompetitive pricing activities among many of the world's largest manufacturers of thin film transistor liquid crystal display (TFT-LCD) panels.

CMO said it would pay the $220 million fine in installments over five years and has agreed to cooperate with the Justice Department's ongoing antitrust investigation. The company said the price-fixing applied to TFT-LCD panels manufactured between September 2001 and December 2006.

The Justice department has charged the LCD manufacturers with conspiring to charge pre-determined prices for the products. Other LCD manufacturers that have already pleaded guilty in the case include Epson Imaging Devices Corp. and Hitachi Displays, while Chungwa Picture Tubes Ltd., LG Display and Sharp Corp. have reached plea agreements with the Justice Department similar to the CMO deal.

The Justice Department, in a statement released late Wednesday, said fines obtained in the investigation now total more than $860 million.

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The worldwide market for TFT-LCD panels at the end of the period in which the price-fixing conspiracy occurred was $70 billion, according to a statement issued by the Justice Department late Wednesday. The Justice Department said Apple, Dell and Hewlett-Packard, among the world's largest manufacturers of devices that incorporate LCD panels, were most directly affected by the price fixing. Mobile phone maker Nokia and AT&T have sued many of the same LCD makers for damages for the alleged price fixing.