• Kyodo


Japanese industrial parts maker Minebea Co. and its local sales subsidiary have been indicted in Seoul for alleged price collusion, local media reported Sunday.

According to the Yonhap news agency, Minebea is accused by prosecutors of having colluded with another Japanese firm in fixing the price of small bearing products supplied to Samsung Electronics Co. and LG Electronics Inc. between June 2003 and July 2011.

Yonhap said it marks the first case in which a foreign firm was indicted by prosecutors on the charge of price-rigging against South Korean companies.

Minebea was the biggest ball bearing supplier in the country, controlling 56.3 percent of the market in 2012.

Last November, the Korea Fair Trade Commission ordered Minebea and its subsidiary, NMB Korea Co., to pay 4.9 billion won (approximately ¥500 million) for violating the competition law in relation to the trading of small-sized ball bearings in the country.

Just three months later, it entered into a plea agreement with the U.S. Justice Department in which it agreed to pay a $13.5 million fine for violating U.S. antitrust law in connection with sales of small-sized ball bearings.

In a Feb. 3 statement, the company apologized to its shareholders and customers “for the concern this matter has generated” and said it takes the South Korean and U.S. decisions “very seriously.”

It said it has implemented an antitrust compliance program and has undertaken training for all employees to prevent recurrence of the conduct that led to the South Korean and U.S. investigations.

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