Thursday, December 15, 2011

Proton stays in limelight on continuous newsflow

KUALA LUMPUR (Dec 15): PROTON HOLDINGS BHD [] continued to attract investor interest on Thursday after the company said it was looking to rekindle its ties with international auto retailer and distributor Inchcape plc to leverage its global network.

At 10.30am, Proton was up six sen to RM4.23 with 902,100 shares traded.

The Edge Financial Daily on Thursday quoted Proton managing director Datuk Syed Zainal Abidin Syed Mohamed Tahir as saying that the national carmaker was exploring opportunities with Inchcape to optimise our overseas distribution network, especially within Asean.

He said the deal with Inchcape involves Proton's distribution network in Indonesia, which has proven to be a strong market for the national carmaker.

Proton has been on investors' radar the past few weeks as talks of Khazanah disposing its controlling stake in the national carmaker began making waves again, the latest suitor reportedly being DRB-HICOM BHD [].

Sales of Proton vehicles in Indonesia rose 23.5% to 2,060 units in 2010 from the previous year, as it received a considerable boost from the Proton Exora. It is the 12th top brand there behind Chevrolet and Hyundai, according to Proton's recent annual report. PT Proton Edar Indonesia currently manages the distribution of Proton vehicles there.

"If the deal with Inchcape proves to be good, we may elect them as the exclusive distributor for Indonesia," said Syed Zainal Abidin.

Presently, Proton and Inchcape do not have any working arrangements. However, the two companies have a history.

Proton was first introduced to Australia in 1995 through Inchcape, before all dealers under the arrangement moved en bloc as Proton formed a wholly-owned subsidiary to manage its operations there.


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