BenQ rejects German creditors’ US$1.6 bil. compensation claims


Taiwan’s electronics giant BenQ Corp. yesterday rejected German creditors’ billion-dollar compensation claims, calling them unrelated to the corporation.

“These creditors do not have a direct relationship with us and we have not received such claims yet,” BenQ spokesman Wang Tan-ju said.

“We have consulted our legal advisers, who said that if they really take the action, there is no legal basis because BenQ Mobile is an independent enterprise,” he added.

On Wednesday, 4,350 creditors of BenQ Mobile met in Munich to prepare to claim 1.2 billion euros (US$1.6 billion) compensation from BenQ. The creditors include BenQ Mobile employees and Brazilian soccer star Ronaldo, who appeared in a 2005 TV commercial promoting BenQ Mobile.

BenQ Mobile in 2005 was the sponsor for Spain’s Real Madrid, Ronaldo’s team at the time.

BenQ made global headlines when it bought the loss-making mobile phone unit of Siemens in 2005 and grabbed media attention again in 2006 when it dumped the unit, citing huge losses due to failure of integration.

The move triggered speculation that BenQ, an unknown company before 2005, merely wanted to acquire Siemens’ name to launch BenQ-Siemens line mobile phones, a charge BenQ firmly denied.

So far BenQ has launched about two dozen models of BenQ-Siemens mobile phones.

The insolvency of the German unit, called BenQ Mobile, left 3,000 German staff out of work overnight.

The German creditors’ compensation claims comes at a time when Taiwan prosecutors are probing BenQ’s insider-trading allegations.

BenQ Chairman K.Y. Lee has denied irregularities but prosecutors have detained BenQ’s chief financial officer Eric Yu.