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Friday, January 13, 2012

DRB-HICOM declares interest in Proton

DRB-HICOM declares interest in Proton

PETALING JAYA: The Proton Holdings Bhd saga continues with DRB-HICOM Bhd group managing director Datuk Seri Mohd Khamil Jamil coming out to confirm that the group has put in a bid for the national carmaker.

“It is up to the owner (Khazanah Nasional Bhd) to decide on the best suitor. Proton has been in my radar for a long time. Back in 2009, we submitted a proposal with conceptual ideas to Khazanah. However, at that time, they were not interested to dispose of Proton,” he said.

Last Thursday, Proton chairman Datuk Seri Mohd Nadzmi Mohd Salleh had stated his intention to bid for the national carmaker.

Speaking to reporters at a media retreat yesterday, Khamil did not provide details of DRB-HICOM's bid but admitted that Proton would not be an easy project due to the stiff market competition.

Asked on the price offered, he said: “You cannot say that we will be buying it at the speculated price. It depends on our capability and capacity. At the end of the day, it is on a willing-buyer willing-seller basis. You cannot measure it based on net tangible asset. It should be priced at a practical, reasonable and workable range.”

Khamil said the group submitted a proposal to Khazanah a few months ago, after the group got wind that Khazanah's stake in Proton was up for sale.

“I'm a long-term player, I never go for short-term gains,” he said.

In filings to Bursa Malaysia last December, DRB-HICOM denied any knowledge of a bid for Proton and of plans to sell a stake in Proton to Volkswagen AG.

The company issued the statement in response to a StarBiz report quoting sources that said DRB-HICOM would divest a portion of its controlling stake in the national automaker to Volkswagen in the second stage of a two-stage bid to win control of Proton.

Khamil said: “I think Proton is a good company and there is a lot of potential in Proton. It might just need a little bit of impetus to trigger the next phase.”

On the bigger picture of the national car company in the local industry, he said Proton had done well considering its humble beginnings.

“I think it can achieve greater heights, complement and enhance the national automotive industry,” he said, adding that after all, Proton was part of the DRB-HICOM Group.

Currently, Proton is still an important business partner for DRB-HICOM, with almost 60% of its automotive revenue derived from business ventures with the national carmaker.

DRB-HICOM is the biggest distributor of Proton cars under EON Bhd, besides Proton Edar, and the group's manufacturing and engineering companies are all first-tier vendors to Proton, accounting for RM600mil to RM700mil worth of business.

He said he was not merely looking at acquiring the national car company per se as he felt that it was still subject to further fine-tuning.

“Proton is able to reach greater heights, and it all depends on how well you handle and manage it. It is capable with the technologies, expertise and products that it has now,” he said.

Khamil did not rule out further partnerships and collaborations with Proton even after the acquisition if it were successful.

“The paradigm shift for DRB-HICOM is to have strategic partnerships and collaborations with our partners. We must never be shy and restrict ourselves by not asking for help. We cannot live within the constraints of our boundaries and say we are the best. We must end off with production and manufacturing,” he said.

Citing human capital development as an integral part of Proton, he said the group must invest in research and development and not merely rebadging cars.

Meanwhile, over the weekend, a business weekly reported that more suitors were vying for the Proton stake, with the latest being businessman Tan Sri Arumugam Apavoo Packiri and Gerald Lopez of Genii Capital.

Arumugam is said to be an associate of former prime minister Tun Mahathir Mohamad, who is currently the adviser to Proton.

It is speculated that the duo are looking to rope in a former chief executive officer of Proton who helmed the company from the mid-1990s to 2004.



» DRB- HICOM best suitor for Proton stake, says research house

1 comment:

  1. eh,i thought it's well going already?khazanah planning to sell...hmm...
    well,this should serve as an interesting read. :)