Electronics firms to pay $388 mln in LCD settlement

Tue Dec 6, 2011 7:26pm EST

* Eight companies agree to settle class action-filing

* Samsung to pay nearly $83 million-filing

SAN FRANCISCO Dec 6 (Reuters) - A collection of eight electronics companies has agreed to pay roughly $388 million to settle a civil lawsuit over alleged price fixing in the liquid crystal display panel market, according to a court filing this week.

The class action alleged a detailed conspiracy from 1996 through 2006 to fix LCD prices. Several companies have also pleaded guilty to separate criminal charges and paid fines.

One Taiwanese company, AU Optronics (2409.TW), and a handful of its top executives are scheduled to go to trial next month against the U.S. Department of Justice in San Francisco.

The civil class action settlement covers plaintiff purchasers who bought LCD panels directly from eight other companies.

Among the defendants, Samsung Electronics (005930.KS) agreed to pay nearly $83 million, Sharp (6753.T) is listed at $105 million, LG Display (034220.KS) agreed to pay $75 million, Chimei (3481.TW) will pay $78 million, and Hitachi (6501.T) will pay $28 million, the filing says.

Representatives from those companies could not immediately be reached for comment on Tuesday.

The civil settlement has already received preliminary approval from a U.S. judge in San Francisco, and a hearing for final approval is scheduled for December 19.

The case in U.S. District Court, Northern District of California is In Re: TFT-LCD (Flat Panel) Antitrust Litigation, MDL No. 1827.

(Reporting by Dan Levine; editing by Bob Burgdorfer)

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