BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Germany’s Infineon Technologies (IFXGn.DE) on Wednesday won its fight against an 82.2 million euro ($96.74 million) European Union cartel fine after Europe’s highest court told a lower tribunal to review the size of its penalty.
Infineon, which received the biggest sanction, Philips (PHG.AS) and Samsung Electronics (005930.KS) were hit with a total fine of 138 million euros in 2014 for fixing prices of chips used in mobile SIM cards.
Japanese chipmaker Renesas (6723.T) alerted the cartel to the European Commission and escaped a fine. The EU competition enforcer said the cartel operated between 2003 and 2005. The chips used by the companies are also used in passports as well as bank, identity and pay-TV cards.
Infineon and Philips then challenged the EU ruling at the Luxembourg-based General Court, Europe’s second-top court, but lost their appeals. They subsequently took their case to the EU Court of Justice (ECJ).
ECJ judges agreed with some of Infineon’s arguments.
“The General Court was not entitled, without misconstruing the extent of its unlimited jurisdiction, to refrain from responding to the argument raised by Infineon,” the ECJ said.
It told the lower tribunal to assess the proportionality of the company’s fine. The ECJ also rejected Philip’s appeal.
Reporting by Foo Yun Chee, editing by Louise Heavens