UPDATE 1-LG Display, Chi Mei, others face EU fines-source

* Biggest penalty for Chi Mei Optoelectronics

* Fines seen for AU Optronics Corp, Chunghwa Picture Tubes

* HannStar also due to be fined

* No fine for Samsung Electronics, alerted EU Commission

* U.S. probe of sector led to criminal fines above $890 mln

(Adds details, background)

By Foo Yun Chee

BRUSSELS, Dec 6 (BestGrowthStock) – EU regulators are set to fine LG
Display (034220.KS: ), Chi Mei Optoelectronics Corp and three
other firms up to 700 million euros ($928 million) in total for
fixing prices of display panels used in consumer devices, a
source close to the case said on Monday.

The European Commission, the EU antitrust watchdog, charged
the companies in July last year with breaching EU laws on
restrictive business practices, while other regulators around
the world have also investigated the sector.

“The total fine will be between 600 and 700 million euros,”
the source told Reuters.

The EU executive will levy the biggest fine on Taiwan’s Chi
Mei, the source said, declining to provide details of the
individual fines.

Chi Mei paid $220 million in fines last year after pleading
guilty to U.S. charges of price-fixing. The company later merged
to form Chi Mei Innolux (3481.TW: ), a combination which now
comprises Taiwan’s largest maker of LCD panels.

The Commission is expected to announce its decision on
Wednesday, sources told Reuters previously. [ID:nLDE6AS238]

The Commission can penalise companies up to 10 percent of
their global turnover for infringing EU laws.

The watchdog did not identify the companies at the time, but
LG Display, 3 AU Optronics (2409.TW: ) and Chi Mei confirmed the
charges.

Taiwanese firms Chunghwa Picture Tubes (2475.TW: ) and
HannStar Display Corp (6116.TW: ) were also named in a Commission
document obtained by Reuters.
World No.1 LCD maker Samsung Electronics (005930.KS: ) will
not be fined as it alerted the Commission to the cartel.

Dutch company Philips (PHG.AS: ) received a copy of the charge
sheet as a former shareholder of LG Display, but said it was not
directly involved. It sold the rest of its shares in the joint
venture with LG Electronics (066570.KS: ) in March 2009.

The EU Commission’s case had centred on thin-film liquid
crystal display panels used in computers, mobile phones,
televisions, digital watches, pocket calculators and MP3
players.

In the U.S. Department of Justice investigation, eight
companies, including LG Display, Chi Mei, Chunghwa, Japanese
company Sharp Corp (6753.T: ) and Hitachi Displays, paid more than
$890 million in criminal fines for price-fixing.

Japan’s Fair Trade Commission slapped fines on Sharp Corp
(6753.T: ) and Hitachi Ltd (6501.T: ) in 2008 for price fixing in
the market for LCD panels.
(Editing by Rex Merrifield and David Holmes)
($1=.7541 Euro)

UPDATE 1-LG Display, Chi Mei, others face EU fines-source