South Korea's Samsung, Japan's Sharp and five other Asian firms have agreed to a $553 million settlement for illegally fixing liquid-crystal display prices, New York state's attorney general said Tuesday.
The settlement stems from antitrust claims brought by the attorneys general of eight U.S. states and private class-action suits, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said in a statement.
It was the latest development in an ongoing price-fixing case over LCD screens that already has seen firms from Japan, South Korea and Taiwan agree to pay U.S. fines totaling more than $890 million.
LCD screens are used in computer monitors, television sets and other devices.
According to Schneiderman, the seven companies -- Samsung, Sharp, Chimei Innolux, Chunghwa Picture Tubes, Epson Imaging Devices, HannStar Display and Hitachi Displays -- agreed to pay over $538 million to settle antitrust claims brought on behalf of consumers and government entities.
The settlement calls for Samsung to pay $240 million, Sharp to pay $115.5 million, Chimei to pay $110.3 million, Hitachi to pay $38.9 million, HannStar to pay $25.6 million, Chunghwa to pay $5.3 million and Epson to pay $2.8 million.
Five of the companies agreed to pay an additional $14 million to settle civil fines and penalties, according to the New York state attorney general.
"This price-fixing scheme manipulated the playing field for businesses that abide by the rules, and left consumers to pay artificially higher costs for televisions, computers and other electronics," Schneiderman said.
The settlement calls for the companies to pay up to $37 million in compensation to state governments and other public entities.
Another $501 million would be available to compensate consumers residing in 24 states and Washington, D.C., who purchased products containing LCD panels between 1999 and 2006.
Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2011