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Taiwan panel maker to appeal EU price-fixing fine

2010/12/08 23:44:27

Taipei, Dec. 8 (CNA) AU Optronics Corp. of Taiwan said Wednesdaynight that it will appeal a European Commission decision to slapheavy fines on it and three other Taiwanese flat panel makers and aSouth Korean manufacturer for allegedly fixing prices on the EUmarket.

AUO, Chi Mei Optoelectronics Corp., Chunghwa Picture Tubes Ltd.and HannStar Display Corp. were fined a total of 433.92 million euro(some NT$17.3 billion) for violating EU's competition rules andtrying to hide their "law-breaking behavior."

An AUO spokesman said it has cooperated with EU authorities overthe past four years in their investigation into industry practicesregarding the production and marketing of TFT-LCD products.

The company, which was fined 116.8 million euro, has decided tofile an appeal with the General Court in Luxemburg and vigorouslydefend its business practices, the spokesman said.

Chi Mei and Chunghwa said they are taking a closer look at the EUdecision before taking their next steps. A Chi Mei executive said thefine on his company, 300 million euro, is "really too harsh."Chunghua was fined 9.02 million euro.

HannStar Display Corp., which got a fine of 8.1 million euro,would not comment on the EC action.

Market analysts said the Taiwanese manufacturers are not makingbig profits and the fines are "simply too heavy."

The Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) said the government wouldprovide all necessary assistance to the manufacturers.

Duh Tyzz-jiun, director general of the MOEA's IndustrialDevelopment Bureau, told the Central News Agency that as long as theaccused companies need assistance when facing disciplinary action,the government would try its best to help them.

Duh and other economics officials admitted the heavy fines willhave impacts on Taiwan's flat panel industry.

LG Display of South Korea was also on the hitting list, beinggiven a 215 million euro fine.

Samsung Electronics of South Korea, the world's largest flatpanel maker, was not charged since it alerted the European Commissionto the price-fixing practices.

(By Tsao Yu-fan, Lin Shu-yuanm Pan CHih-yi and S.C. Chang)