South Korean flat screen maker LG.Philips LCD Co. Ltd. (NYSE:LPL) on Monday said it was being investigated by fair trade watchdogs from Korea and Japan and had received a subpoena from the U.S. Department of Justice. The company, a joint venture between LG Electronics Inc. and Philips Electronics, said it would cooperate fully with authorities.”Last Friday, as part of an investigation of possible anticompetitive conduct in the LCD industry, officials from the Korean Fair Trade Commission [KFTC] visited the offices of LG.Philips LCD in Seoul, Korea,” LG.Philips said in statement.
The real joke here, of course, is that the cartel laws are typically designed to protect consumers from companies controlling the market to raise prices. As we have noted many times, exactly the opposite is happening in the LCD space. The article notes this as well:
The company is struggling with weak prices and high costs for its mainstay TV panels. Analysts point to its lack of a diversified client base as one of the reasons behind its weak pricing power.
So all we can say is, if the LCD manufacturers are colluding, they are really bad at it.