DOJ Puts Conspirators On Ice In Refrigerator Compressor Cartel
The U.S. Department of Justice has announced the first guilty pleas in its ongoing investigation into a price-fixing cartel in the worldwide refrigerator compressor market.
According to the DOJ, Japan-based Panasonic Corp. and Embraco North America Inc., a Brazilian subsidiary of Whirlpool Corp., agreed to pay $49.1 million and $91.8 million respectively for a price-fixing conspiracy that lasted from October 2004 until December 2007.
Both companies stake claim to significant shares of the worldwide compressor market with Panasonic occupying 13% and Embraco holding 25%. Embraco will also pay a $56.5 million fine in Brazil for anticompetitive conduct. The DOJ has not indicated whether other manufacturers will be entering additional guilty pleas in the near future.