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GE claims it overpaid for part due to conspiracy

Published on NewsOK Modified: February 20, 2013 at 2:18 pm •  Published: February 20, 2013

Other defendants include Whirlpool S.A., a wholly owned subsidiary of Whirlpool Corp.; Danfoss A/S, identified as a privately held Danish company that supplies refrigerator products, including the compressors; and Household Compressors Holding SpA, listed as an Italian company that sold the compressors in the U.S. during the alleged conspiracy period.

Danfoss and Household Compressors did not immediately respond to emails seeking comment.

GE said its plants in Louisville, Decatur, Ala.; Bloomington, Ind.; and Selmer, Tenn., used the compressors as part of production.

GE claims the defendants and two co-conspirators commanded about 85 percent of the U.S. refrigerator compressor market in 2008.

The suit says the conspirators agreed on a plan to allocate GE's business among themselves to avoid competing on price, quality, efficiency and technology. The scheme included restricting or reducing supply to ensure inflated prices, it said.

In late 2004, one co-conspirator notified GE that it planned to increase prices by 11 percent, effective the following spring, the suit said. About the same time, Embraco announced a 12 percent price increase, it said.

The suit claims the alleged conspirators violated federal anti-trust law by meeting to "discuss and agree upon future price stabilization and price increases, customer and market allocation, supply restriction, innovation restriction."

It also claims the defendants committed fraud by making "repeated and material misrepresentations in their communications" with GE. The aim was to induce GE into making purchasing decisions, it said.