VEBA AG is denying reports that it intends to sell off its electronics businesses, including its extensive North American distribution operations.
Reuters last week reported that VEBA, a $50 billion conglomerate, intended to pull out of its electronics businesses, including the U.S.-based MEMC silicon wafer foundry. Reuters quoted Germany's Manager Magazin, which was scheduled to publish an article outlining VEBA's plans on Friday.
"We are aware of the article, and the information is simply not true," said a press spokesman for VEBA, D??sseldorf, Germany. "We do not want to sell VEBA Electronics and we don't want to sell MEMC-at least for now. The content of the article is not true," he said.
VEBA is the parent company of North American distributors Wyle Electronics Inc., Insight Electronics Inc., and EBV Electronics Inc., as well as several key European distributors, including the Memec Group and EBV Elektronik.
VEBA acquired Wyle, Irvine, Calif., just over one year ago to strengthen its position in the U.S. market. VEBA also moved one of its own executives, Ferdinand Pohl, to Santa Clara, Calif., to oversee its North American operations, which reported nearly $2 billion in revenue in 1997.
VEBA's U.S. operations include major distributors of leading semiconductor and computer equipment lines, including Intel, Motorola, Digital Equipment, Altera, Xilinx, Toshiba, Hitachi, Actel, IBM, National Semiconductor and Texas Instruments. VEBA is the third largest distributor in North America, following Arrow Electronics Inc. and Avnet Inc., respectively.
Quoting the Manager Magazin article, the Reuters report said VEBA AG is preparing a "broad restructuring under which the diversified utility would pull completely out of electronics and other businesses."
Hit by the computer chip industry recession, U.S.-based MEMC lost $95.49 million in the first half of 1998, dampening VEBA's own first half results.
VEBA, which owns 52% of MEMC, said in August that MEMC would undergo a restructuring.