Samsung dodges fine in EU battery cartel case

Sony, Panasonic and Sanyo have been hit with a €166 million after the European Commission found them guilty of collaborating to form a cartel for rechargeable batteries. Samsung’s battery affiliate Samsung SDI was a part of the cartel as well but it wasn’t fined since it tipped off the EU authorities about the unfair business practices.

A statement from the European Commission reveals that Sony, Panasonic and Sanyo agreed to a temporary price increase in 2004 and 2007. This was due to an increase in the price of cobalt which is a raw material used to make lithium-ion batteries. The companies were also found to have exchanged commercially sensitive information such as supply and demand forecasts, price forecasts as well as information about competitive bids for products like smartphones, laptops and power tools.

European Commissioner for Competition Margrethe Vestager said that “millions of Europeans” were affected by these unfair business practices as they use productions that have rechargeable lithium-ion batteries. All of the parties accepted their involvement in the cartel and reached a settlement. Sanyo will pay €97 million in fines while Panasonic and Sony will pay €38.9 million and €29 million. Samsung could have been hit with a €57.7 million but since it blew the whistle on these unfair business practices, it wasn’t fined.

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