DOJ: Companies Guilty of Fixing Capacitor Prices

The Department of Justice has secured pleas in a conspiracy to raise and fix prices of a key electronic component that affected millions of American consumers purchasing video and computer-related products, among many others.

The DOJ says Rubycon Corporation, Elna Co. and Holy Stone Holdings Co. have agreed to plead guilty in a conspiracy to fix the prices of electrolytic capacitors, which are an integral part of electrical circuits used to regulate and store currents, which are included in a host of U.S. products such as TVs, computers, DVD players, video and still cameras and gaming systems.

The capacitors at issue were sold to manufacturers and sellers in the U.S. in significant quantities and under major U.S. and overseas brands, said DOJ, without naming any names.

The companies got together to fix, increase and maintain prices.

“The electrolytic capacitors conspiracy affected millions of American consumers who use electronic devices containing capacitors every day," said deputy assistant attorney general Brent Snyder.

The companies will plead guilty to one felony count each for their participation in the worldwide scheme.

The agreed-upon guilty plea stems from a federal antitrust investigation conducted by the Antitrust Division's San Francisco office and an FBI San Francisco Field Office investigation into price fixing and bid rigging in the capacitor industry.

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.