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EU fines Pioneer, 3 other firms for fixing online prices

This photo taken on June 19, 2018, shows the headquarters of the European Commission. (Kyodo)

BRUSSELS (Kyodo) -- EU antitrust regulators on Tuesday levied fines totaling 111 million euros ($130 million) on Pioneer Corp. of Japan and three other consumer electronics manufacturers for imposing fixed or minimum online prices for their products.

The three others are D&M Holdings Inc., another Japanese firm, as well as AsusTek Computer Inc. of Taiwan and Koninklijke Philips N.V. of the Netherlands.

The European Commission found that the four companies had restricted the ability of online retailers to set their own prices for products such as kitchen appliances, notebook computers and hi-fi products.

It also found Pioneer to have limited the ability of its retailers to sell across borders in 12 EU member countries, including Britain, France and Germany. Other companies also engaged in such illegal practices in one or two countries, it added.

"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," European Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said in a statement.

The commission levied fines of 10.17 million euros and 7.72 million euros on Pioneer and D&M, respectively. It hit AsusTek and Koninklijke Philips with fines of 63.52 million euros and 29.83 million euros, respectively.

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