Panasonic, Whirlpool Fined $140 mln in Price-Fixing Case

The Justice Department said Thursday that Panasonic (PC) and Embraco North America Inc, a Brazil-founded manufacturer and a Whirlpool (WHR) subsidiary, are being fined more than $140 million for price fixing.

According to the DOJ, Embraco has agreed to pay a $91.8 million criminal fine , which resulted in Whirlpool lowering its earnings estimate to $7.80 to $8.30 a share for FY2010; and Japan-based Panasonic agreed to pay $49.1 million. Panasonic said  the fine would not effect its fiscal year that ends March 31.

Both co.’s plead guilty to charges of manipulating the prices of refrigerator compressors from 2004 to 2007 in the U.S. and elsewhere.

The two co.’s have agreed to cooperate with the Justice Department in the ongoing investigation.

Panasonic’s shares fell $0.12, or 0.88 percent, to $13.55 at 1:41 p.m. ET in New York Stock Exchange composite trading. WHR dropped about 0.70 percent, to $80.22.

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