Siemens plans to pull out of joint venture with Fujitsu

Siemens AG plans to pull out of its computer-making venture with Fujitsu Ltd., a move that may result in the sale or dismantling of Fujitsu Siemens Computers Holding BV, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing unidentified people.

Siemens has informed its Japanese partner, which has the preferential right to buy the German company's 50-per cent stake, the newspaper reported. It's unclear whether Fujitsu is interested in buying the shares, according to the report. No decisions have been made on the venture, whose contract is up for renewal next year, said Masahiro Yamane, a Tokyo-based spokesman at Fujitsu.

Fujitsu Siemens, headquartered in Maarssen, Netherlands, is worth around €2.6 billion ($4.65 billion). Fujitsu's interest is unlikely, considering that its president Kuniaki Nozoe was recently quoted as saying that mobile phones were a more promising way of increasing foreign sales than personal computers.

China's Lenovo, which bought IBM's personal computer division in 2005, has been named as a possible buyer.

Siemens CEO Peter Loescher has been disappointed with Fujitsu Siemens's performance amid competition with Dell Inc. and Hewlett-Packard Co., according to the Journal. Other global personal-computer makers may be interested in investing should Fujitsu forfeit its right to buy the Siemens stake, the paper said.

Since taking charge in May 2007, Loescher has been reorganizing Europe's largest engineering company to focus on automation equipment, power networks and medical scanners. (See: Siemens acquires third largest Spanish electrical installations company and E.ON ties up with Areva and Siemens to set up N-power plants in UK)

Siemens on 1 August agreed to sell its cordless- phone unit to Arques Industries AG, completing its retreat from telecommunications, on which it was founded 160 years ago.