Compressor suppliers Panasonic Corp. and Embraco North America both signed plea agreements with the U.S. Department of Justice to resolve claims of violations of U.S. antitrust law, specifically regarding claims of price fixing.
As part of its plea agreement, Embraco North America, Inc., acknowledged a violation of U.S. antitrust law, in breach of company policy, with respect to the sale of some compressors. It agreed to pay a fine of $91.8 million.
As a result of the financial impact of the Embraco plea agreement, parent company Whirlpool Corp. adjusted its 2010 outlook. See the October 4, 2010 news item, Whirlpool Adjusts 2010 Outlook Over Embraco Plea Agreement.
Panasonic Corp., in its plea agreement, agreed to pay $49.1 million in fines.
Embraco said in a statement that it and its parent and affiliate companies are committed to fair and open competition, and violations of company policy or local laws are not acceptable. The Department of Justice has acknowledged Embraco's substantial assistance in its investigation and Embraco continues to cooperate with ongoing government investigations in other jurisdictions.
A Panasonic statement said the DoJ has been investigating pricing practices of compressor manufacturers, including Panasonic, since February 2009, and that Panasonic cooperated fully in the investigation. Panasonic said it entered into the plea agreement after taking into consideration "the applicable laws and related regulations, the facts, and other factors." Panasonic said there would be no material effect on its financial outlook for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2011 as a result of this payment. Panasonic said its corporate policy is to comply with all applicable laws and regulations, including antitrust regulations.
The plea agreements are subject to court approval.