Philips hit by cartel claims

City A.M. Reporter
PHILIPS, the Dutch electrical goods manufacturer, and South Korea&rsquo;s LG Display yesterday said they had received a charge sheet from the EU&rsquo;s executive arm about suspected price-fixing on LCD panels.<br /><br />The European Commission said it had sent a &ldquo;statement of objections&rdquo; &ndash; a formal step in ECcompetition probes &ndash; for suspected violation of cartel rules, but did not name the companies involved.<br /><br />Philips said it received the charge sheet as a former shareholder of LG Display and this did not mean it was directly involved. LG Display said it was reviewing the statement of objections but declined to comment.<br /><br />Meanwhile, Philips also yesterday said some of its key markets are primed for an upturn in sales, though any growth this year would likely be driven by government spending programmes.<br /><br />The Dutch conglomerate &ndash; the world&rsquo;s largest lighting manufacturer and Europe&rsquo;s biggest for consumer electronics &ndash; surprised industry experts with a return to profit in the second quarter, helped by cost cuts.<br /><br />It said it expected a better second half and some markets, notably in emerging economies, might be bottoming out.<br /><br />Finance director Pierre-Jean Sivignon warned against hopes of an early consumer-led end to the slump.<br /><br />He said: &ldquo;If I had to guess I would say growth would come from the countries with stimulus packages. Because we know those plans are for real.&rdquo;