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BRUSSELS (AP) — The European Union has fined eight Japanese companies a combined $312 million for collusion in the electronic component market over a 14-year period.

EU Antitrust Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said Wednesday the eight companies worked together to maximize their profits at the cost of consumers in the market of capacitors, which are widely used in electronic equipment. They store electricity but unlike batteries cannot be used to power equipment.

A ninth company, Sanyo Electric, escaped punishment because it revealed the cartel to the EU. The eight companies are Elna, Hitachi Chemical, Holy Stone, Matsuo, NEC Tokin, Nichicon, Nippon Chemi-Con and Rubycon.

The EU said that until 2012, the companies exchanged sensitive commercial and supply information to avoid price competition that could have profited consumers.