Court fines Toshiba for LCD price fixing

Despite $87m fine, no damages payment expected

Toshiba has been fined $87 million for its role in a conspiracy to artificially raise the price of LCD panels, but the company doesn't expect it will have to make any payments.

Toshiba

A San Francisco jury unanimously ruled against Toshiba on Tuesday, finding its actions to have caused $17 million in damage to competing panel makers and $70 million to manufacturers of notebooks, monitors and LCD televisions.

In a statement, a spokesperson said Toshiba "expects that it will not have to pay any damages as a result of this verdict", even after US anti-trust laws triple the payout for wilful conduct. Other defendants in the class-action lawsuit have made substantially larger settlement payouts to aggrieved parties, effectively covering Toshiba's exposure.

Samsung Electronics, Sharp, Hitachi Displays, Epson Imaging and several other companies have already settled hundreds of millions of dollars of payments in related LCD price fixing cases. Taiwan LCD and OLED manufacturer AU Optronics was found guilty of price fixing in March and may have to pay $1 billion in damages.

Although Tuesday's findings are not criminal in nature and Toshiba was never indicted, the company maintains its innocence: "Toshiba has consistently maintained that there was no illegal activity on its part in the LCD business in the United States, and Toshiba continues to hold that view.

While Toshiba appreciates the jury's time and effort, Toshiba believes that the jury's verdict is in error as to the finding of wrongdoing on Toshiba's part. Toshiba plans to pursue all available legal avenues to correct that finding."

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