New York attorney general says LCD price-fixing case settled

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman says seven companies will pay $553 million to settle allegations they inflated prices for liquid crystal display screens used in televisions and computer monitors.

The corporations Chi Mei Innolux Corp., Chunghwa Picture Tubes Ltd., Epson Imaging Devices Corp., HannStar Display Corp., Hitachi Displays Ltd., Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. and Sharp Corp. along with U.S. affiliates are settling antitrust claims brought by eight state attorneys general and private class-action attorneys.

According to New York's complaint, Japanese, Korean, and Taiwanese manufacturers of thin film transistor LCD panels conspired to fix prices.

"This price-fixing scheme manipulated the playing field for businesses that abide by the rules, and left consumers to pay artificially higher costs for televisions, computers and other electronics," said Schneiderman. "Protecting the integrity of the marketplace is the only way to ensure the best outcome for New York's consumers."

Under the agreements, $501 million will be available for partial refunds to consumers in 24 states and the District of Columbia who purchased products containing TFT-LCD panels from Jan. 1, 1999 through Dec. 31, 2006. Schneiderman says New York State taxpayers may receive upwards of $11 million, in addition to restitution to compensate consumers affected by the scheme.

(Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.)