The country’s antitrust regulator said on Sunday it has decided to impose a combined 10.46 billion won ($7.55 million) in fines on 12 domestic companies for colluding to fix bidding prices over a semiconductor monitoring and control system by Samsung SDS.

PS ENG, Daean C&I, Doota IT, and nine other companies colluded to predetermine a winning bidder through prior discussions about quotations in a total of 334 bids issued by Samsung from 2015 through 2023, according to the Fair Trade Commission (FTC).

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They had done so to prevent low-cost bidding and prevent newcomers from winning the contracts after Samsung adopted a bidding system in 2015 to cut costs, reports Yonhap news agency.

“The collusion had affected the competitiveness of the semiconductor industry and caused damage to customers due to rising prices,” the FTC said in a release, saying it also ordered the companies to take corrective measures.

The system is designed to ensure optimum conditions at semiconductor manufacturing factories and the safety of workers, and it monitors and controls pumps, chiller, specialty gas, and overall facilities needed for chip production, among other things.

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