DRB-HICOM: ‘We won’t sell Lotus’ image

DRB-Hicom Bhd’s stake in Proton Holdings Bhd reached 98.66% or 541.85 million shares based on the valid acceptances of 48.59% or 266.88 million shares as at 5pm on Thursday.

The company “is not thinking about a sale” according to sources close to the Norfolk sports car maker.
The managing director of Proton’s new owner, DRB-HICOM, Dato’ Sri Haji Mohd Khamil Bin Jamil, made the comment last week during a visit to Lotus’s Hethel HQ, near Norwich, intended to reassure management and staff, AutoCar reports.

British media reported that Khamil met with British Business Secretary Vince Cable and South Norfolk member of parliament Richard Bacon to allay fears that Proton was about to the pull the plug on Lotus.

As a result of the meeting, the British government will now positively review a £10 million (RM49.2 million) grant that it had earlier been urged to discontinue.

Lotus has been loss-making since its takeover by Proton in 1996, except for a £1.5m profit in 2009, and needs investment to launch a five-year turnaround programme of new models.

In a statement it said KPMG had been working on the sale of Lotus before it acquired the car maker. Datuk Seri Mohd Khamil Jamil, the group managing director, said: “We put on hold any further effort by KPMG towards selling Lotus when we completed the acquisition of Proton. The operations audit on Lotus is still ongoing in accordance with our governance process.”