STMicro, Infineon in EU smart chip cartel probe

BRUSSELS - Chipmakers STMicroelectronics and Infineon Technologies said on Wednesday the European Commission had raided their premises in October as part of a cartel investigation concerning smart card chips.

By (Reuters)

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Published: Wed 7 Jan 2009, 6:58 PM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 8:56 AM

Dutch chipmaker NXP, spun off by Philips Electronics to a private equity consortium that includes KKR, said it had also been visited by the Commission, as did Japan’s Renesas Technology, a joint venture between Hitachi Ltd and Mitsubishi Electric.

“Yes, we were the object of the dawn raids in October,” a spokeswoman for STMicroelectronics said.

“We did have a visit from the European Commission regarding the investigation, but we understand that this (is) a very early stage. We haven’t had any complaint following the dawn raids,” she said, without specifying which premises were raided.

Kay Laudien, a spokesman for Infineon, said the company’s premises in Germany and France were raided on Oct. 21-22 as part of the probe, adding it was cooperating with the Commission.

The Commission, competition watchdog of the 27-nation European Union, said in a statement that it had carried out dawn raids in October 2008 at the premises of several smart card chips producers in several member states.

It did not identify the raided companies.

The chips are used for the production of smart cards, such as telephone SIM cards, bank cards and identity cards.

“The Commission has reason to believe that the companies concerned may have violated ... rules prohibiting practices such as price-fixing, customer allocation and the exchange of commercially sensitive information,” it said, adding it was not prejudging the outcome of its investigation.

It said it had no strict deadline to complete its investigation.

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