In a weird case of financial déjà vu BenQ Mobile is once again being reported as on the edge of financial oblivion and once again a little digging shows this is not exactly the case.
The facts of the matter certainly make for grim reading: following the file for insolvency back in September the proceedings have officially begun this week. The vast majority of the time this ends in the liquidation of the company and its assets hence doom, gloom and death.
What everyone is missing however is the fine print: when BenQ was literally paid to take Siemens’ struggling mobile phone division off its hands the company put in a clause which means it will hold onto the company’s patents and intellectual property should the newly formed ‘BenQ Siemens’ brand (later BenQ Mobile) fall flat on its face.
In laymen’s terms this means that should BenQ Mobile be liquidated (as is likely) the company is simply disposing of its unprofitable, debt ridden arm while keeping the all important patents and intellectual property to transfer to a (probably Taiwanese based) new debt free offshoot.
Cynics among you would now say this has been BenQ’s plan all along and there are some arguments that can be made for this, however the human cost is significant – 3,000 jobs could go in Germany alone – and the truth of the matter is if BenQ could have made the arm work without such upheaval it would have.
Ultimately the debts proved too much of a handicap so instead I suspect we will see a new smaller debt free business rise like a phoenix from these ashes from a new home in the Far East. Handsets will probably be marketed exclusively to that part of the world for a short time as the company finds its feet and restores its name (unless a new one is chosen) before once again going global.
Of course, I could be wrong about all this… but I doubt it.
BenQ Mobile – Catch it while it’s still there. Or just click again in six months time when it'll redirect you to the new site ;)