Geely completes Proton stake purchase, appoints new CEO

SHAH ALAM, 29 Sept 2017: 

DRB-Hicom Bhd and Zhejiang Geely Holding Group Co Ltd have appointed Dr Li Chunrong as Perusahaan Otomobil Nasional Sdn Bhd’s (Proton) new chief executive officer effective Sunday, Oct 1.

Li will succeed Datuk Ahmad Fuaad Kenali who will end his tenure tomorrow, Sept 30.

The newly appointed CEO Li said the challenge would not be easy but he is looking forward to what has been in store for him.

“I am appointed to turn around Proton and I believe Proton will be revived as the number one local brand in the country and a leading brand in Asean.”

DRB-Hicom group managing director Datuk Seri Syed Faisal Albar will remain as Proton Holdings Bhd chairman.

The other board members of Proton are Shaharul Farez Hassan and Amalanathan Thomas – both representing DRB-Hicom – and Daniel Donghui Li and Feng Qing Feng, both from Geely.

Meanwhile, the board members of Proton are Syed Faisal (chairman), Shaharul Farez, Amalanathan, Winfried Vahland, Daniel Li, Feng and Dr Nathan Yu Ning.

Apart from Vahland, the rest are also board members of Proton Edar Sdn Bhd, Proton’s wholly-owned distribution outfit. DRB-Hicom holds a 50.1% stake in Proton.

Meanwhile, Syed Faisal said it would not be an easy task to turn around Proton as the market is now more sophisticated and liberalised.

“The consumers today have a variety of choices, from Japanese to Korean and even European, besides local brands, that compete to get a piece of the 600,000-vehicle per year market.”

He expressed hopes that with the strategic partnership with Geely, Proton would be able to challenge the market domestically and eventually rise in the ASEAN region.

“Proton today has at its disposal the global resources of Geely which encompasses technology and design capability in many countries.

“Together with Proton’s experience and knowledge, I am confident that Proton will rise to its glory once again.”

In May this year, Geely, the owner of Sweden’s Volvo Car Group, had acquired a 49.9% stake in Proton from DRB-Hicom.

In a filing to Bursa Malaysia today, DRB-Hicom said the deal has been completed and its equity interest now reduced to  50.1% – the remaining 49.9% equity interest in is now held by Geely International (Hong Kong) Ltd (a wholly-owned unit of Geely).

Meanwhile, Lotus Advance Technologies Sdn Bhd has ceased to be an effective wholly-owned unit of DRB-Hicom, it said.

It has completed the proposed divestment of 51% issued shares in Lotus Advance Technologies and 51% preference shares in Lotus Cars Ltd to  Geely.

The remaining 49% issued shares in Lotus Advance Technologies and 49% in Lotus Cars Preference shares have been sold to Etika Automotive Sdn Bhd, it said.

It said the proposed divestments of interests in Lotus Advance Technologies amounted to £100 million.

DRB-Hicom, Geely and Etika have agreed not to transfer the Lotus Cars preference shares to Geely and Etika respectively – pending further discussions between the parties, without any changes to the total sale consideration for the proposed divestment, it said.

Geely  has nominated its wholly-owned unit, Geely International (Hong Kong) Ltd, to receive and hold the shares in PHB and Lotus Advance Technologies Sdn Bhd.

– Bernama

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