DRB Hicom-Geely partnership will drive Proton to success, says PM
25 June, 2017, 02:14
ZHEJIANG Geely Holding Group announced today that it has signed a final contract with DRB-HICOM of Malaysia, acquiring 49.9 percent shares of Malaysian automaker Proton and 51 percent shares of United Kingdom carmaker Lotus.
The signing ceremony held today, was also witnessed by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, Chinese Ambassador to Malaysia Huang Huikang, Minister of Finance II Datuk Seri Johari Abdul Ghani, Second Minister of International Trade Datuk Seri Ong Ka Chuan, Prime Minister's Special Envoy to China Tan Sri Ong Ka Ting and Geely's President An Conghui.
Geely will buy its Proton stake for 460.3 million ringgit ($107.37 million), including a 170.3 million ringgit cash injection, said DRB-HICOM Managing Director Syed Faisal Albar.
It was announced last month that a 51% stake in the EDP/EADT Top 100 manufacturer has been had been snapped up by Zhejiang Geely Holding Group, alongside a private equity firm.
"Proton's status as a national auto is secure with DRB-Hicom still a majority shareholder".
"Geely will turnaround both companies in respect of profitability and pave the way for sustainable growth, while embracing new technological trends of electrification, light weighting and artificial intelligence".
"With Geely making Proton their right hand-drive hub for the ASEAN region, Proton can now target the vast ASEAN passenger vehicle market for both our existing models and Geely's models".
It's still early days in Proton's partnership with Geely, but the latter already has a few rough ideas of what it has in store for the Malaysian carmaker. "We will work together to make the most of our respective strengths".
On the RM1.5 billion soft loan given by the government in June past year, Syed Faisal said, the government was expected to release the balance of RM250 million as the company had met the conditions set by the government's special task force with the signing of Geely as its strategic partner.
In expressing his confidence, Najib said, Proton would have the ability and resources to turn itself around and become an example of Malaysian success, without needing handouts from the government.
ZGH in 2010 acquired Sweden's Volvo Cars. The government also had to give a 1.5 billion ringgit loan ($350 million) to help sustain Proton, he said.
Malaysia, he said, will also become the right hand-drive hub for Geely in this region, enabling the modern Tanjung Malim plant to be used to its maximum capacity, creating new jobs both locally and nationally.
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