Four electronics firms fined €111m by EU

Asus, Denon & Marantz, Philips and Pioneer hit for illegally forcing online retailers to charge consumers higher prices

Margrethe Vestager, EU competition commissioner said: “This is illegal under EU antitrust rules.”

Margrethe Vestager, EU competition commissioner said: “This is illegal under EU antitrust rules.”

 

Brussels has fined four electronics makers – Asus, Denon & Marantz, Philips and Pioneer – €111 million for illegally forcing online retailers to charge consumers higher prices.

Margrethe Vestager, the EU competition commissioner, said: “The online commerce market is growing rapidly and is now worth over €500 billion in Europe every year. More than half of Europeans now shop online. 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. This is illegal under EU antitrust rules.”

Laptop maker Asus was fined €63.5 million, household appliance manufacturer Philips was hit with a €29.8 million levy and two audio equipment producer also faced fines: Denon & Marantz was charged €7.7million and Pioneer €10.2 million. All four companies acknowledged the facts of the case and provided evidence which resulted in a reduction of their fines.

Low price online retailers were threatened with sanctions such as blocking supplies, according to the commission and these actions influenced the wider market prices for the products since the pricing algorithms at big online retailers automatically adapt to competitor prices.

The actions took place between 2011 and 2015 in various European markets and Tuesday’s decision opened the door for affected companies or individuals to seek damages in their national courts.

The case was launched in February 2017, along with two other investigations into alleged anti-competitive pricing practices for video games and hotels. Those two investigations are ongoing. – Reuters