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.