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BenQ ditches shares in AU Optronics

Posted: 05 Apr 2007 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:TFT LCD business? BenQ consumer electronics? German mobile phone?

Consumer electronics maker BenQ Corp. dumped 100 million shares of TFT-LCD manufacturer AU Optronics Corp. in an effort to shore up finances weakened by the bankruptcy of its German mobile phone unit.

The sale raised $142 million. The buyer is suspected to be Cathay Financial Holding Co., which is based in Taiwan.

"This is one of the first steps we are taking to strengthen our current financial condition," said David Wang, deputy spokesman of BenQ Corp. "The partner who has purchased BenQ's holding of AU Optronics has expressed their strong support in the current management team of AU Optronics and it is expected that this partner will support the future development of AU Optronics."

BenQ is struggling to recover from the failure of its German mobile unit, which sold phones under the BenQ-Siemens brand. Last month, BenQ turned in its fifth straight quarter in the red, losing $239 million for the three months ending Dec. 31.

Later this month, BenQ also plans to sell its stake in Taiwan Fixed Network Co. Ltd. for about $26 million. As part of its overall drive to raise money, BenQ has also issued bonds and systematically sold off other holdings, including its controlling stake in RF chip designer Airoha Technology Corp. These efforts have netted about $363 million in cash.

BenQ still owns 8.42 percent of AU Optronics. It's unlikely the firm will look to unload more shares since most of its remaining holding is pledged as collateral against existing loans.

- Mike Clendenin
EE Times




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