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Lotus sale gives DRB-Hicom 100 million pounds

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KUALA LUMPUR — May 24, 2017: DRB-Hicom will raise 100 million pound sterling from the divestment of Lotus Advance Technologies Sdn. Bhd. by Proton Holdings.

Geely Holding Group Co. Ltd. will buy a 51 per cent stake in the British automaker for 51 million pounds while the rest will be bought by Etika Automotive Sdn. Bhd. owned by Tan Sri Syed Mokhtar Al-Bukhary, the tycoon who holds the controlling stake in Proton’s parent company, DRB-Hicom.

The acquisition of a stake in Lotus from Proton was part of Geely’s deal in becoming a strategic partner for the national carmaker.

DRB-Hicom and Geely today signed a binding heads of agreement in Putrajaya, paving the way for the Chinese car group to acquire a 49.9 per cent of Proton.

Subject to regulatory and shareholder approvals, Geely and DRB-Hicom are expected to sign a definitive agreement in July, when the value and more details of the deal are expected to be disclosed.

HSBC Bank is Geely’s financial advisor while Quantephi Sdn. Bhd. is the financial advisor for DRB-Hicom.

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.

“DRB-Hicom’s controlling 50.1 per cent stake means Proton will remain a Malaysian national brand,” he was quoted as saying.

Geely’s Group Executive Vice President/Chief Financial Officer Daniel Donghui Li said the group had full confidence in Proton and would fully respect the brand’s history and culture.

The entrance of Geely as a foreign strategic partner will revitalise Proton which incurred huge losses in the financial year ended March 31, 2016.

Lotus lost 27.6 million pounds the same year.

Lotus comprises an engineering division that sells sports car technology to other businesses and also specialises in composite materials and light weighting technology, which Geely might look to deploy across its vehicles to help them meet stringent emissions targets in China.

Proton, which was founded in 1983 by the Malaysian government to create a domestic auto brand, bought Lotus in 1996. — Bernama

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