Raids have been staged on offices of several major domestic appliance and electronic equipment manufacturers this week, by European Commission officers investigating competition rules violations.
In a statement yesterday, the Commission said it had gone into the offices of companies including Philips and Samsung, to search for evidence that the companies had colluded to limit the availability of their products in European markets.
News agency Reuters reported that the investigation into the companies coincided with efforts to compete against online outlets "such as Amazon".
If they are found guilty of any collusion, the European Union investigators have the power to ask for the companies to be fined up to 10 per cent of their revenue, not just in Europe, but worldwide.
Aside from saying that they were co-operating with the EU's investigators, none of the three companies involved made any further comment.