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Hungary: GVH probes suspected TV tube cartel

Hungary’s competition authority (GVH) has launched an anti-cartel investigation into the operation of several major cathode ray tube producers between 1995 and 2007.

GVH said in a statement on Tuesday that according to its information the businesses coordinated their behavior with respect to the production and distribution of cathode ray tubes for the European market. The companies may have coordinated the exchange of market information including pricing, inventory sizes, demand and capacity utilization, the regulator said. They may have also fixed prices, agreed on market shares and limiting production, according to GVH.

The Hungarian investigation is part of a European Union probe of manufacturers of cathode-ray tubes used in computers and televisions, which started in November. In 2006, antitrust officials worldwide began a probe on liquid-crystal display makers including Samsung and LG for possible price fixing.

The investigation concerned Samsung SDI Co. Ltd, Samsung SDI Germany GmbH, Samsung SDI Magyarország Zrt, Thomson TDP sp. Z.o.o., LG Philips Displays Czech Republic s.r.o., and LP Displays, it said. It also concerned Chunghwa Pictures Tubes (UK) Ltd, Chunghwa Picture Tubes Ltd, Daewoo Orion S.A., Daewoo Electronics Global HQ, Daewoo Electronics European HQ, MT Picture Display Germany GmbH, Matsushita Global HQ and Matsushita European HQ. The companies were not immediately available for comment.

Cathode ray tubes are used in television sets and computer monitors. The market for them has shrunk with the advent of liquid crystal and plasma displays. (Reuters)