Nokia alleges price fixing among LCD makers

Nokia, the world's biggest mobile phone maker, said Tuesday it has filed suits against several leading manufacturers of liquid crystal displays — including Philips, Toshiba, Sharp and Samsung — over alleged price fixing.

Nokia, the world's biggest mobile phone maker, said Tuesday it has filed suits against several leading manufacturers of liquid crystal displays — including Philips, Toshiba, Sharp and Samsung — over alleged price fixing.

Nokia spokesman Mark Durrant said the suits, filed last month in the United States and Britain, came amid international criminal investigations in the United States, the European Union "and elsewhere."

The companies, or their subsidiaries, named in the suits are AU Optronics, Hitachi, LG Electronics, Philips Electronics, Samsung Electronics, Seiko Epson, Sharp and Toshiba, Durrant said.

"The investigations are into alleged cartel activities — effectively, price fixing — in the supply of both CRTs (cathode ray tubes) and LCDs (liquid crystal display), components that we have bought in significant volumes over a number of years," Durrant said. "Had we not been overcharged for them, our profitability would have been higher."

Durrant declined to say how much Nokia was claiming in compensation but said the sums involved were "not insignificant."

Companies named in the suits, including Sharp, Hitachi and LG, declined comment, saying they were unaware of the litigation.

Durrant said Nokia considers litigation as a "last resort" and is still open to agree "to appropriate compensation" with the companies.

He declined to say whether talks between Nokia and the companies allegedly involved in price fixing were continuing outside the courts.

"Clearly, there is no doubt that these activities have been happening, and Nokia has been overcharged, and we are taking the appropriate, responsible steps to recover the damage that has been caused," he added.

Nokia said that similar civil suits had been filed in the United States by other claimants.