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Brussels, 12th December 2006

Competition: statement on investigation on the TFT/LCD industry

The European Commission can confirm that on 8 December 2006, the Commission has sent formal requests for information to a number of thin film transistor/liquid crystal display (TFT/LCD) producers.

The purpose of this investigation is to ascertain whether there is evidence of a cartel agreement and related practices concerning price fixing for these products which could be an infringement of EC Treaty rules on restrictive business practices and cartels (Article 81).

The product in question is used for the manufacturing of monitors for:

  • PCs and laptops (i.e. monitors)
  • televisions and
  • mobile displays (screens measuring one to three inches; used in mobile phones, digital cameras, handheld devises, mp3 etc.).

The Commission is aware of inquiries into the same sector in other jurisdictions and has had discussions with other authorities in relation to the case. No inspections have been carried out in Europe as the targets of the present inquiry all operate outside of the EU.

The world-wide market of TFT/LCD products amounted to €40 000 million in 2004.

The fact that the European Commission investigates a case does not mean that the companies are guilty of anti-competitive behaviour nor does it prejudge the outcome of the investigation itself. The European Commission respects the rights of defence, in particular the right of companies to be heard in antitrust proceedings.

There is no strict deadline to complete cartel inquiries. Their duration is determined largely by the complexity of each case, the exercise of the rights of defence and by the observance of the Commission’s consultation and other procedures.

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