Toshiba, Epson Said to Be Let Off Hook as EU Ends LCD Probe

  • EU says it sent `no action' letters yesterday to LCD makers
  • The probe is the third dropped this month by EU regulators

The European Union won’t pursue an investigation into possible price-fixing of liquid-crystal display panels, continuing a trend that saw regulators drop high-profile probes into Wall Street banks and some of the world’s biggest oil producers.

The EU sent so-called no action letters to several LCD producers, including Toshiba Corp., Seiko Epson Corp., Samsung SDI and AU Optronics Corp., according to four people familiar with the matter who asked not to be named as the names of the firms were confidential. EU spokeswoman Lucia Caudet confirmed the probe was discontinued, without identifying the companies.

While the EU fined LG Display Co. and Chi Mei Optoelectronics Corp. a total of 648.9 million euros ($703.7 million) in 2010 for conspiring to fix prices of LCD panels, the investigation continued for several producers.

The 2010 fines related to an investigation into price fixing of large LCD panels, the main component of thin, flat monitors used in televisions, computer monitors and notebooks. The other part of the case focused on small LCD panels used for handheld devices or mobile phones, said two of the people.

Representatives of the four companies didn’t immediately reply to requests for comment.

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