Takata agrees to pay $71.3 million in price-fixing settlement

Article by Anita Panait, on October 13, 2013

Takata Corp. has agreed to pay $71.3 million to settle antitrust charges filed by United States federal prosecutors over price fixing on seat belts sold to carmakers, the company has revealed. The proposed settlement is the latest in an investigation by antitrust enforcers in several countries into price fixing on over 30 types of vehicle parts -- seat belts, radiators, windshield wipers, air-conditioning systems, power window motors and power steering components. Twenty companies and 21 executives have already agreed to plead guilty in the US. The companies have also agreed to pay $1.6 billion in fines. Gary Walker, a Takata executive in the US, previously agreed to plead guilty to price fixing. Walker agreed to serve 14 months in US prison and pay a $20,000 criminal fine, the US Justice Department disclosed in September.  Walker was director of sales when he retired from Takata on July 31, 2012, the company said in a statement.

The price fixing case will see Takata chief executive Shigehisa Takada take a 30 percent cut in his compensation, the company said, adding that other directors will take a 15 percent cut.

According to Takata, it will incur an extraordinary charge of around $72 million (JPY 7 billion) against its earnings in the July-September period. It currently sees a net profit of JPY14.5 billion for the fiscal year ending March 2014. In September, the Justice Department disclosed that nine Japan-based companies had agreed to plead guilty and to pay almost $745 million in fines for their roles in conspiracies to fix the prices of parts sold to US carmakers.

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