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Siemens to decide fate of mobile phone unit in January

Rumours of imminent sale denied

German electronics giant Siemens could decide on the future of its mobile phone manufacturing division as early as next month, a company spokesman said.

"We are waiting for all the units within our newly merged communications group to submit budgets before we make a decision," the spokesman said. "This process should be finished by the end of January."

The spokesman denied a news report in the Sunday edition of German business newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung claiming that Siemens had already reached a decision to sell its mobile phone business to China's Ningbo Bird. The Chinese company has a distribution agreement with Siemens in China.

"We have not made any decisions yet," the spokesman said. "We have a few options: we can cooperate with another company, restructure the mobile phone business or sell it."

A spokesman for Ningbo Bird declined to comment.

Siemens' mobile phone business posted a loss of €141m (£97.5m) in the quarter that ended 30 September. The company attributed the loss to competition from lower-priced handsets and quality problems that delayed the rollout of the company's new 65 series of mobile phones.

In a laboratory test, company researchers discovered that when batteries in this series ran down during a call, the disconnection warning tune could possibly play extremely loudly, causing hearing damage. The company has since corrected the problem.


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