Saturday, December 3, 2011

M&As must drive Proton's exports, says chairman

PETALING JAYA (Dec 3):'' Any form of merger or acquisition involving the national automaker, PROTON HOLDINGS BHD [], should steer its glory
internationally, says chairman Datuk Seri Mohd Nadzmi Mohd Salleh.

He neither confirmed or denied any takeover rumour but said as a national automotive company any move to bring in new shareholders or privatise the entity should only be for the future success of Proton.

"As to who will be the shareholders, it is not up to me or the management to decide but it is up to the government. Proton can never remain the
national car manufacturer forever given the present situation.

"Proton is now in the midst of transforming its business module where we are looking to push exports. Proton cannot be what it is locally, it has to
transform itself to become a global player internationally," he told Bernama'' on the sidelines of the Proton's Family Day celebration here on Saturday.

Mohd Nadzmi said it was for this reason that the company's management and board were pushing ahead for Proton to be bigger than what it is today.

"Push for more export activities is the key because for a car industry, volume is very critical. In Malaysia, the domestic market is very small and very

"The current management team has a very huge task in making sure the national car project is not only focusing on the domestic market but we want to be a big global player.

"I think whatever we have to do now...even if we have to bring in new shareholders or the company needs to be privatised, it should not lose sight of that objective,"'' Mohd Nadzmi said when commenting on Proton's sharp price increase of 15.4 per cent or 51 sen to RM3.61 on Friday, making it the day's third biggest gainer.

Analysts highlighted that the hike was a clear indication that talks of an impending takeover or sale of a stake in Proton, was imminent.

Conglomerates DRB-HICOM, Naza Group and SIME DARBY BHD [] were among the big companies involved in the automotive company's merger and acquisition exercise, with a stake sale to DRB-HICOM expected to be the closest.

Asked on potential suitors, Mohd Nadzmi said: "The interest has always been there. Many parties have expressed their interest and I think the government is very cautious in this kind of things as they would balance and analyse all possible factors before making a decision.

Mohd Nadzmi also said Proton was positive it cannot perform in the global arena as good as it did domestically without undergoing a shift in business
modules. - Bernama

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