Panasonic and Embraco North America have pleaded guilty to conspiring to fix prices for refrigerator compressors and are set to pay a total of $140.9m in criminal fines, according to the US Department of Justice.
The single felony count covers the participation in a price fixing conspiracy that began 14 October 2004 and ran until at least 31 December 2007.
Christine Varney, head of the US’s justice department’s antitrust division, says: “These are the first charges as a result of the antitrust division’s ongoing investigation into the worldwide refrigerant compressors market.”
“Panasonic has been cooperating with the government and the plea reflects a reduction in fines ($49.1m compared with Embraco’s $91.8m).”
The move follows raids by the European Commission last year investigating price fixing on companies in a number of EU countries including Denmark based Danfoss.