Thu, Jan 18, 2007 - Page 11 News List

Sentex bids for assets of bankrupt BenQ Mobile

AP , BERLIN

Sentex Sensing Technology Inc has made a 52 million euro (US$67.4 million) bid to acquire the assets of BenQ Mobile GmbH, the bankrupt German handset business of BenQ Corp (明基).

Sentex's chief executive, Henrik Rubenstein, told Dow Jones Newswires that the bid is based on what he called an earn-out model, meaning that payments would only be made based on the financial success of the company in the future.

He said the biometric-technology company had secured "a three-digit million euro sum" of working capital financing, with the bulk of it to come from the issuance of convertible bonds.

Rubinstein said Sentex wanted to make high-end cellphones with Internet protocol and biometric technology, such as fingerprint, facial and voice recognition systems -- used to replace traditional phone security such as pin codes and which can also be used for payment systems.

"We want to avoid competing with the Nokias of this world by entering this new market," he said.

Sentex, a Nasdaq stock market-listed shell company based in Cleveland, Ohio, has been in talks with BenQ Mobile bankruptcy administrator Martin Prager since late last year.

But Prager has yet to make any final decision. He did not immediately comment on Rubinstein's offer.

Munich-based BenQ Mobile applied for protection from its creditors in September, a year after the Taiwanese company took it over from Siemens AG and tried unsuccessfully to turn it around.

After no bidders came forward by Dec. 31, Prager planned to order the shutdown of BenQ Mobile's office in Munich and its production plant in western Germany, his spokeswoman Regine Petzsch said.

Of BenQ Mobile's 3,000 employees, about 400 have found new jobs, some with Siemens. The remaining 2,600 are to continue receiving most of their previous wages for up to a year under a transitional arrangement largely financed by Siemens.

The Munich-based technology and engineering conglomerate offered the aid after fierce criticism from politicians and labor unions, who accused it of mismanaging the unit and then making misleading claims about BenQ's chances of rescuing it.

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