PUTRAJAYA – DRB-HICOM Bhd (DRB-HICOM) has reached an agreement with China-based Zhejiang Geely Holding Group Co. Ltd (Geely Holding) for the Chinese car group to acquire a 49.9 per cent equity in Proton Holdings Bhd.
DRB-HICOM currently owns 100 per cent of the manufacturer of the first national car.
The agreement was signed today and witnessed by Second Finance Minister Datuk Seri
Johari Abdul Ghani.
The deal will enable Proton to tap into Geely Holding’s vast range of platforms
and powertrains and will also enable Proton to have access to existing markets of the Chinese car maker, as well as, right-hand drive markets in South-East Asia, said DRB-Hicom in a statement today.
DRB-HICOM Group Managing Director Datuk Seri Syed Faisal Albar said the Proton brand would remain present and would grow significantly with the new foreign strategic partner on board.
“Our intention was always to ensure the revitalisation of the Proton name plate. It was
Malaysia’s first national car brand and has more than 30 years of history. This deal will be the catalyst to elevate a brand that Malaysians resonate with,” said Syed Faisal.
Meanwhile Geely Holding Group Executive Vice President and Chief Finance Official Daniel Donghui Li said: “With Proton and Lotus joining the Geely Group portfolio of brands, we have strengthened
our global foot print and developed a beach head in South East Asia.”
He added that Geely Holding had full confidence in Proton’s and would fully respect the brand’s history and culture to restore Proton to its former glory with the support of Geely’s innovative technology and management resources.
“We also aim to unleash the full potential of Lotus Cars and bring it into a new phase of development, thanks to our experience accumulated through Volvo Car’s revitalisation,” said Daniel.
The deal would see Proton disposing the entire equity in British carmaker Lotus to Geely and Etika Automotive Sdn Bhd, which will see the group exit from the sports car segment.
Geely Holdings, which also owns Volvo Car Corporation and The London Taxi
Company, is one of the leading passenger vehicle car makers in China.
It already has facilities across the globe, including 16 manufacturing plants, seven design studios and five research & development centres.
The deal with Proton will offer Geely access into the key ASEAN market and also R&D and manufacturing presence in the region.
“Both parties expect to sign the Definitive Agreement in July 2017,” said the statement. – BERNAMA