1,900 jobs to go in BenQ insolvency in Germany

19th October 2006, Comments 0 comments

19 October 2006, Munich/Taipei (dpa) - Nearly two-thirds of the 3,050 employees at BenQ Mobile will lose their jobs, the administrator looking after the affairs of the insolvent German cellphone handset maker said Thursday. Martin Prager said the move was necessary in order to keep the firm afloat after January 1, 2007. He said the 1,900 affected workers would be given the chance to take part in retraining schemes. Taiwan's BenQ took over the German operation from Siemens AG in 2005, but pulled the plug la

19 October 2006

Munich/Taipei (dpa) - Nearly two-thirds of the 3,050 employees at BenQ Mobile will lose their jobs, the administrator looking after the affairs of the insolvent German cellphone handset maker said Thursday.

Martin Prager said the move was necessary in order to keep the firm afloat after January 1, 2007. He said the 1,900 affected workers would be given the chance to take part in retraining schemes.

Taiwan's BenQ took over the German operation from Siemens AG in 2005, but pulled the plug last month, triggering a political outcry about the possible closure of the business.

Faced with fierce criticism of its involvement in the demise of BenQ, Siemens created a special 35 million euros (45 million dollars) fund to support employees who lose their jobs.

Siemens effectively paid BenQ last year to take its loss-making mobile phone operations off its hands. The Taiwanese consumer electronics group had aimed to secure at least 10 per cent of the world market, but at the last count that figure was just 3 per cent.

BenQ Mobile's parent company, BenQ Corp, said in Taiwan on Thursday that its overseas mobile phone operations should decide their own fate.

Spokesman Eric Yu made the statement in response to news that BenQ had also ceased financing its subsidiaries in Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay and its operations in Chile and Brazil were in danger.

"After we declared on September 28 that we would stop refinancing BenQ Mobile Holding BV in the Netherlands, the handset manufacturing and sales units under it could decide their own fate," Yu said, referring to the Dutch holding company of the German unit.

BenQ founded BenQ Mobile Holding after acquiring the loss-making Siemens unit so it could finance its overseas mobile-phone manufacturing and sales units.

Since then, BenQ Mobile had designed and launched two dozen lines of Siemens-BenQ mobile phones, but three weeks ago, BenQ announced it would stop financing BenQ Mobile Holding because it had lost 760 million dollars on it.

BenQ Mobile in Germany was the first to file for bankruptcy. Its Dutch holding company, with fewer than 10 staff, and the BenQ manufacturing plant in Brazil were still operating.

BenQ said it would not abandon its mobile-phone business and its September 28 decision does not affect its production in China, its only handset production base after shutting down its mobile-phone production lines in Taiwan early this year.

"We are restructuring and rebuilding our computer and logistics systems," Yu said. "BenQ will continue our handsets business, and we have not abandoned the European and Latin American markets."

DPA

Subject: German news

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