Nine chip makers face fines totalling €331m for price-fixing


Nine chip makers face fines totalling €331m for price-fixing

Warwick Ashford

European Union competition authorities have fined nine electronic memory chip makers a total of €331m (£285.3m) for fixing prices. The fine was reduced by 10% for co-operating with investigators.

Ten companies produced DRAM memory chips used in a wide variety of electronic devices including PCs, mobile phones and printers.

EU authorities were alerted to the scam by one of them, Micron, which escaped a fine in return for blowing the whistle on the other members of the price-fixing cartel.

The other companies involved are Samsung, Hynix, Infineon, NEC, Hitachi, Mitsubishi, Toshiba, Elpida and Nanya.

Samsung was given the biggest single fine of €146m, followed by Infineon, which will have to pay up €57m after the eight-year investigation by EU officials.

The cartel colluded between 1998 and 2002 to set prices for DRAM chips sold to major PC makers and server manufacturers, according to BBC news.

Only Germany's Infineon is a European-based business, but EU's competition authority said they were all penalised because they sell their products in the European Economic Area and were therefore subject to EU law.

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