Four Electronics Manufacturers Inflict a Penalty of $15M for Conspiring on Pricing


Manufacturer

The Competition Commission of Singapore (CCS) has fined ELNA, Nichicon, Rubycon, and SCC for colluding on pricing for aluminum electrolytic capacitors. The total amount fined adds up to $15 million, which is the most the CCS has ever penalized. Investigations were initiated after Panasonic applied for immunity under the CCS leniency program, which prevents companies that report illegal activity from being incriminated. As a result, Panasonic was the only manufacturer who did not get fined. 1

The five manufacturers are charged with forming a cartel and exchanging sensitive information, such as sales, distribution, and pricing. The companies agreed to set sales prices, including numerous price increases and refusal to accommodate to customers’ requests for price reduction. Investigations revealed that the involved parties met regularly, almost monthly at one point, to exchange confidential information. Activity started as far back as 1997.

Cartels prevent consumers from getting competitive pricing, effectively allowing for a pseudo-monopoly situation in which prices are not driven by the balance of supply and demand. The Competition Act, Chapter 50B of Singapore was enacted in 2004 and regulates cartel activities. The rules are strict, applying to even informal collusions, requiring only that parties arrive at a consensus to be punishable under the Competition Act as a cartel.

Each company was fined based on the proportion of the capacitor supply they controlled. ELNA, Rubycon, and SCC were also awarded discounts to their fines for their application for leniency under the CCS leniency program for coming forth with information on cartel activities.

ELNA was fined $650K, Rubycon was fined $3.6M, and Nichicon and SCC were each fined $5.3M.


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