The European Commission imposed the biggest antitrust penalty in its history on Wednesday, fining six firms including Philips, LG Electronics and Panasonic a total of €1.5 billion ($1.9 billion) for running two cartels for nearly a decade.
The Commission said executives from the European
and Asian companies met until six years ago to fix prices and divide up markets for TV and computer monitor cathode-ray tubes, technology now mostly made obsolete by flat screens.
Between 1996 and 2006 they met in Paris, Rome, Amsterdam and in Asia for "green meetings", so-called because they often ended in a round of golf.
"These cartels for cathode-ray tubes are 'textbook cartels': they feature all the worst kinds of anti-competitive behaviour that are strictly forbidden to companies doing business in Europe," EU competition commissioner Joaquin Almunia said in a statement.
The EU antitrust regulator imposed the biggest penalties on Philips for its role in the price fixing and carving up of markets.
The Dutch-based firm was fined €313.4 million and faces a further penalty through a joint venture.
The European Commission fined Panasonic Corp €157.5 million, Samsung SDI €150.8 million, Toshiba Corp €28 million, and French company Technicolor €38.6 million.
Two Panasonic joint ventures were also fined.