Business / Corporate

EU fines Pioneer, 3 other companies over online price fixing

Kyodo

EU antitrust regulators Tuesday levied fines totaling €111 million ($130 million) on Tokyo-based Pioneer Corp. and three other consumer electronics manufacturers for imposing fixed or minimum online prices for their products.

The three others are D&M Holdings Inc. of Japan, AsusTek Computer Inc. of Taiwan and Koninklijke Philips NV of the Netherlands.

The European Commission found the four companies had restricted the ability of online retailers to set their own prices for products such as kitchen appliances, notebook computers and hi-fi products.

It also found Pioneer limited the ability of its retailers to sell across borders in 12 EU member countries, including the U.K., France and Germany. The other companies also engaged in such illegal practices in one or two countries, it added.

“As a result of the actions taken by these four companies, millions of European consumers faced higher prices for kitchen appliances, hair dryers, notebook computers, headphones and many other products,” European Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said in a statement.

The commission levied fines of €10.17 million on Pioneer and €7.72 million on D&M. It hit AsusTek and Koninklijke Philips with fines of €63.52 million and €29.83 million, respectively.

Pioneer said it will book the fine as an extraordinary loss for the April-June quarter.

“The Pioneer Group takes the decision seriously and continues to strengthen its efforts to ensure compliance with the relevant laws and regulations,” the company said in a statement.