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10 foreign capacitor suppliers fined NT$5.7 billion for collusion

10 foreign capacitor suppliers fined NT$5.7 billion for collusion

Taiwan's Fair Trade Commission (FTC) said Wednesday that it has slapped more than NT$5.7 billion (US$173 million) in fines on 10 foreign capacitor suppliers for collusion.

In a statement, the FTC said that it has imposed NT$5.797 billion in fines on the seven aluminum capacitor companies and three tantalum capacitor makers after the commission determined that the 10 were involved in conduct which violated the country's antitrust laws.

The fine is the highest financial punishment the Taiwan FTC has imposed on foreign companies for acting like a cartel to undermine market competition, the commission said.

The seven aluminum capacitor companies which face the fine are Nippon Chemi-Con Corp. (NCC), Hongkong Chemi-Con Ltd., Taiwan Chemi-Con Corp., Rubycon Corp., ELNA Co., Sanyo Electric (Hong Kong) Ltd., and Nichicon (Hong Kong) Ltd., the FTC said.

The three tantalum capacitor makers alleged of colluding are NEC TOKIN Corp., Vishay Polytech Co. and Matsuo Electric Co., the FTC added.

According to the FTC, aluminum capacitors are used in a wide range of large-sized electronics devices, such as desk-top computers, home appliances and game consoles, while tantalum capacitors are used in smaller-sized high-tech gadgets, such as smartphones and notebook computers.

The FTC said that the investigations into the alleged collusion among the capacitor firms were launched in March 2014 as part of the global efforts to probe into such anti-competitive behavior.

The FTC said that Taiwan was working with the United States, the European Union and Singapore to investigate the case. Taiwan is the first country among the four to complete an investigation and impose fines on the foreign firms involved in this case, the FTC added.

These foreign capacitor firms were said to have exchanged views on sensitive information, including pricing, production volume and production capacity, through meetings, emails and telephone conversations between 2005 and 2014 -- all in order to fix their trading terms, the FTC said.

The commission said that since Taiwanese aluminum capacitor makers accounted for only 3 percent of the local market, and the country was completely dependent on imported tantalum capacitors, such collusion caused serious damage to local buyers.

The FTC said that major capacitor buyers which directly fell victim to such collusion included the world's largest contract electronics maker Hon Hai Precision Industry Co. and power management system supplier Delta Electronics Inc.

The commission said that consumers here became indirect victims of the unfair trading practices. (By Chiu Po-sheng and Frances Huang)

Updated : 2021-09-21 04:01 GMT+08:00