EU Competition Commission Joaquin Almunia has fined Philips, Samsung and Infineon a total of 138 million euros for fixing prices of microchips used in SIM cards for mobile phones, bank cards, identity cards, passports and pay TV cards.
Brussels said the companies also got together between 2003 and 2005 to discuss customers, production capacity and future market conduct.
Samsung was fined just over 35 million euros and Philips a little over 20 million.
German chipmaker Infineon, which received the biggest penalty – almost 83 million euros – rejected the EU finding, saying it would take its case to Europe’s second highest court in Luxembourg.
Philips also said it would challenge the decision in court and called it “unfounded”.
The companies had sought to settle the case in return for a 10 percent cut in the fines but talks subsequently broke down.
Renesas Technology, a joint venture between Hitachi and Mitsubishi Electric – that was acquired by Renesas Electronics in 2010 – escaped a fine of more than 51 million euros as it was the first to alert the EU competition authority about the cartel.