Tue, Aug 15, 2006 - Page 12 News List

BenQ shares jump by more than 5% after sell-off story


Shares of BenQ Corp (明基) leapt more than 5 percent yesterday after a newspaper reported that the money-losing mobile phone maker may receive much-needed cash by selling more assets such as its computer monitor division.

That would be the latest asset sale made by Taipei-based BenQ after it sold a research center in Denmark to Motorola Inc in May and its optical storage division to Lite-On Technology Corp (建興電子) in April.

The stock rose to NT$20.8 (US$0.64) on the Taiwan Stock Exchange yesterday after the Chinese-language Commercial Times said BenQ was considering spinning off contract manufacturing -- business including computer monitor and handset manufacturing facilities -- in order to concentrate on running the BenQ brand.

"It does not make sense for BenQ to sell the profitable monitor division to shift its entire focus on brand operation. BenQ will only do that in an attempt to ease a cash crunch," said Vincent Chen (陳豊丰), an analyst with CLSA Ltd in Taipei.

BenQ, struggling to turn around the handset business after taking over Siemens AG's mobile phone unit last year, had assets of about NT$11.6 billion in cash and other holdings in the first quarter.

The report said Hon Hai Precision Industry Co (鴻海精密), the nation's biggest electronic component maker, could be a potential buyer as the firm was seeking to expand its monitor and handset businesses as fast as it could.

In a separate report published on Saturday, the Commercial Times said Hon Hai aimed to annex a major share in BenQ by buying BenQ shares on the open market, boosting the stock and rallying by the 7 percent daily limit on Friday.

BenQ said yesterday's report was "totally speculative."

"The report about BenQ's plan to sell our monitor and handset manufacturing units to Hon Hai is untrue," spokesman Eric Yu (游克用) said in a statement filed with the Taiwan Stock Exchange Corp yesterday.

"It is also premature for BenQ to consider separating the nascent brand and contract manufacturing businesses," Chen said.

Monitor manufacturing made up 57 percent of BenQ's total revenues of NT$57.94 billion in the first three months of this year.

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