EU fines Phillips, Samsung, Panasonic and others a record £1.19bn for price-fixing TVs

The European Union has imposed record fines on six of the world's biggest electronics companies after finding them guilty of running a price-fixing cartel on TVs.

The European Commission awarded the biggest penalty to Dutch-based Phillips, whose fine amounted to more than 313 million euros (£254 million). Other tech heavyweights facing punishment include LG, which will have to pay a 295 million euro (£239 million) fine, Panasonic with a 157 million euro (£127 million) fine and Samsung which will have to pay 150 million euros (£122 million).

Japanese firm Toshiba and French company Technicolor were also among those fined by the EU competition authority.

The tech heavyweights were punished for running two cartels on TVs and computer monitors. The agreements, lasting a decade, began operating in 1996 when company executives discussed how to fix prices and share markets at so-called "green meetings" which ended with a round of golf.

"These cartels for cathode ray tubes (components used to makes TV and computer screens) are 'textbook cartels': they feature all the worst kinds of anti-competitive behaviour that are strictly forbidden to companies doing business in Europe," said EU Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia in a statement.

The fine will come as a fresh blow to ailing companies like Panasonic, which is expected to report an annual loss of £6 billion after a hefty restructuring process which has seen it shed 36,000 jobs throughout the company.