(CN) – Hitachi Displays Ltd., a Tokyo based electronics manufacturer, has agreed to plead guilty and pay a $31 million fine for participating in a conspiracy to fix the prices of display panels sold to computer maker Dell.
A one count felony charge was filed today in San Francisco charging Hitachi with participating in a conspiracy to fix the prices of Thin Film Transistor-Liquid Crystal Display panels sold to Dell. The display panels are used in computer monitors and notebooks, televisions and cell phones.
Hitachi participated in meetings in the U.S., Japan, and Korea to discuss prices with other makers of display panels and agreed to charge Dell a predetermined price.
In 2006 the worldwide market for TFT-LCD panels was approximately $70 billion. In 2008, Hitachi Displays, a subsidiary of Hitachi Ltd., reported $1.75 billion in total revenue for the fiscal year.
Three other companies through 2008 to the present, LG Display, Sharp Corp., and Chunghwa Picture Tubes, have all plead guilty to participating in price fixing conspiracies in the sales of TFT-LCDs. LG Display was earlier sentenced to pay $400 million in criminal fines, the second largest fine in Anti-Trust Division history.
According to the plea agreement, Hitachi has agreed to cooperate with the Department’s ongoing investigation.