No rescue in sight for BenQ Mobile

No buyer has yet been found for bankrupt German mobile phone maker BenQ.
  • John Blau (IDG News Service)
  • 29 January, 2007 08:24

The clock is ticking at bankrupt German mobile phone maker BenQ Mobile.

Bacoc, a rumored buyer for the Taiwanese-owned company, failed to submit a bid on Friday, after creditors had rejected bids by two would-be buyers earlier in the month.

The creditors have yet to agree to a solution for rescuing the company, although negotiations with several interested buyers continue, a spokeswoman for insolvency administrator Martin Prager said Friday.

Siemens agreed to sell its mobile phone production to BenQ Corp. in June 2005, due to disappointing world sales of its mobile phones and high product costs. But in August 2006, the new owner announced plans to cease investment in the German sites last year after concluding they were not economical. The move triggered a public outcry in Germany, which has yet to subside.

Bacoc, a midsize German provider of computer support services, had been rumored to be considering making a bid for BenQ Mobile on Friday. But no offer was made, according to the spokeswoman.

After meeting with two U.S. potential buyers Sentex Sensing Technologies and SF Capital Partners on Jan. 9, Prager said in a news conference that neither of the two met creditors' requirements for a convincing concept to continue the manufacturer's business, an adequate price offer and concrete evidence of secured financing.

SF Partners had sought state-backed credit lines of more than Euro 100 million (AUD$167 million) and up to six months of continued funding for 800 BenQ Mobile employees who are currently being paid through an organization funded by the Federal Employment Agency and Siemens.

The bid from SF Partners is being handled by Hansjorg Beha, a technology investor and former IT director at Daimler-Benz AG, which has since merged to become DaimlerChrysler.

Sentex Sensing had yet to line up banks and other investors to finance the acquisition when the company made its initial bid.

Both companies had met earlier in the month with state government officials from North Rhine Westphalia (NRW) and Bavaria, where BenQ Mobile owns production facilities, as well as other industry and labor representatives.

Although BenQ Mobile creditors have set no deadline to end talks with interested parties, the sooner a rescue plan is found for the manufacturer, the better, the spokeswoman for the insolvency administrator said.