03.26.2007 08:00 AM
EU charges suppliers with fixing videotape prices

European Union (EU) regulators announced last week they have charged several global companies with running a cartel to fix the price of professional videotape used for television broadcasting.

Though the EU declined to identify the companies charged, Sony spokeswoman Sylvia Shin confirmed to the Associated Press that the Japanese electronics company had been charged and would make a formal response to the European Commission.

Reuters reported that Hitachi Maxell and Fujifilm were also named. Both companies later confirmed receiving a “statement of objections” from the commission.

“The statement of objections alleges that the undertakings concerned fixed prices of professional videotape products, thereby restricting competition in the European Economic Area,” the commission said in a statement.

The EU said the tape is made for professional video equipment used nearly exclusively by TV stations and independent TV and advertising production companies.

The Associated Press reported that the charges were based on raids it made in 2002 and information received afterward under a leniency program.

Regulators said the companies have two months to respond and can argue their case at a hearing. The EU's executive arm will then come to a conclusion and can levy fines of up to 10 percent of a company's annual global sales. The fine can be reduced or lifted entirely for companies that cooperate with the investigation.

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