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South Korean firm LG Electronics is in the frame to buy Siemens' loss-making handset business, according to German business magazine WirtschaftsWoche, by way of newswire AFP.

Unnamed sources say the two companies are locked in talks over the future of the mobile phone business, which lost €140m (£97m) in the fourth quarter of 2004.

According to recent reports, Siemens will close its mobile handset division unless it can find a buyer for the loss-making business, which is the world's fourth biggest handset maker.

Chief executive Heinrich von Pierer is quoted as saying: "Either the situation has to be fixed or we have to find a partner for co-operation. We have to fix, close or sell."

NEC and Chinese manufacturer Ningbo Bird - both linked as possible buyers - have denied any interest in acquiring the business. A decision about the future of Siemens's mobile phone business is expected at the group's annual meeting on 27 January. ®

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