Aluminum/Tantalum Electrolytic Capacitors (Antitrust)

Company Name
Various Defendants (see description below)
Stock Symbol
N/A
Class Period
January 1, 2005 to September 2, 2014
Status
Under Investigation

Summary

The allegations of the action are that the defendants engaged in a collusive and concerted restraint of trade in aluminum and tantalum electrolytic capacitors.  Defendants are leading manufacturers and direct competitors in the global capacitors industry.

Capacitors are in in virtually every electrical product known to man.  Capacitors are one of the fundamental components found in electrical circuits.  As a result of declining demand since the early 2000s, and to ensure that sales of their products would remain profitable, Defendants agreed that price competition among themselves for their mutually interchangeable aluminum and tantalum electrolytic capacitors had to cease.

The Allegations

For approximately the last nine years, Defendants conspired together by directly and indirectly communicating with each other to effectuate a scheme to control market prices of aluminum and tantalum electrolytic capacitors directed toward and sold into the United States.

This conspiracy was furthered and facilitated by a course of anticompetitive conduct, including agreements and understandings among Defendants to fix, raise, maintain and stabilize prices for aluminum and tantalum electrolytic capacitors and to restrain their respective product output through extending product lead times. 

Defendants’ cartel has been successful in achieving the anticompetitive and unlawful ends for which it was formed.  Through their concerted actions, Defendants created the market conditions that made it economically feasible for all cartel members to fix, raise, maintain or stabilize artificially high prices on the capacitors they sold during the Class Period to purchasers in the United States.  Defendants were effective in moderating the normal downward pressures on prices for capacitors caused by price competition, oversupply, reduction of demand and technological change.

The Investigations

Defendants’ anticompetitive acts recently have drawn the attention of law enforcement and regulatory agencies in the United States, the People’s Republic of China, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and Europe, all of which opened investigations earlier this year.  At least one capacitor manufacturer, believed to be Defendant Panasonic, has self-reported its unlawful price fixing and is cooperating with authorities in at least the United States and China in exchange for amnesty from prosecution, and has disclosed background details regarding the cartel’s membership and the scope of Defendants’ conspiracy.

Defendants

The Defendants who are part of the cartel are Panasonic Corporation, Panasonic Corporation of North America, Sanyo Electric Group, Ltd., and Sanyo Electronic Device (U.S.A.) Corporation, Taiyo, NEC Tokin Corporation, KEMET and KEMET Electronics Corporation, Nippon Chemi-Con, United Chemi-Con Corporation,  Hitachi Chemical Co., Ltd., Nichicon Corporation,  AVX,  Rubycon Corporation, Elna Co., Ltd., Matsuo Electric Co., Ltd., Toshin Kogyo Co.,  Vishay Intertechnology, Inc., Samsung Electro-Mechanics, and ROHM Co., Ltd.

Class Period

Those parties who would be economically injured are all persons and entities who purchased aluminum and/or tantalum electrolytic capacitors in the United States directly from one or more of Defendants, or from any predecessors, parents, subsidiaries, agents or affiliates thereof, at any time between January 1, 2005, and the present.

Who Would be Economically Injured

As a direct result of Defendants’ anticompetitive and unlawful conduct, parties who directly purchased aluminum and/or tantalum electrolytic capacitors  were financially injured because they paid more for the aluminum or tantalum electrolytic capacitors then they would have absent the conspiracy.

The aluminum and tantalum electrolytic capacitor industry consists of one of three categories of purchasers: (1) original equipment manufacturers (“OEMs”) who install capacitors directly into their products; (2) electronic manufacturing service providers (“EMS Providers”) who manufacture electric circuit products that contain capacitors and which are integrated into end-use products manufactured by others; and (3) third-party electronics distributors that sell capacitors to various consumers.

If you, or a party you know, are a direct purchaser of aluminum and tantalum electrolytic capacitors from one or more of the defendants, please contact us and we will review your information to determine whether you have sustained economic injury.

If you would like to view a copy of a retention agreement or discuss matters further, please contact us by email at shareholders@glancylaw.com or by phone at (310) 201-9150.