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Four Japanese bearings companies fined S$9.3m for price fixing

This is the biggest penalty levied by the Competition Commission of Singapore, and first involving an international cartel.

SINGAPORE: The Competition Commission of Singapore (CCS) has imposed financial penalties totalling S$9,306,977 on four Japanese bearings manufacturers and their subsidiaries here for contravening the Competition Act.

The ruling on Tuesday (May 27) is the Commission’s biggest penalty levied yet and the first involving an international cartel.

The companies - including JTEKT Corporation and its local subsidiary Koyo Singapore Bearing, NSK and NSK Singapore, NTN Corporation and NTN Bearing-Singapore, as well as Nachi-Fujikoshi Corp and Nachi Singapore - were found to have engaged in a price-fixing exercise to protect their market share and profit in Singapore, where they have approximately 60 to 70 per cent share of the ball bearing market combined.

The ruling today followed investigations beginning in 2011 after the CCS was tipped by Koyo on the infringement, which could be traced back to collusion between the companies’ Japanese parents since the 1980s.

As a result of its initiative, Koyo was granted full immunity and will not be fined - an incentive under CCS’ Leniency Programme. NSK and Nachi were also given up to 50 per cent reduction to their penalties for their later participation in the programme.

Following today’s ruling, the involved companies have two months to pay their fines, or appeal to the Competition Appeal Board should they choose to.

The CCS’ action against the cartel came after similar crackdown on the same companies in Japan and Australia. CCS Chief Executive Toh Han Li added that these companies have since stepped up their compliance efforts, and there will not be further repercussions resulting from the infringement.

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