16 January 2012

Khazanah Nasional divested Proton to DRB-Hicom

The wait is finally over. Khazanah Nasional Bhd has confirm that it has divested its interest in Proton Holdings Bhd worth RM1.291 billion. It is the biggest Khazanah divestment yet, for its controlling stake of 42.7% at RM5.50 pershare.

Tan Sri Azman Mokhtar said the deal is a significant milestone in a move to place the GLC in a more competitive footing. Yet the move is till regarded as nationalistic as the national car maker is still owned by Malaysian entity, as the DRB-Hicom is controlled by Tan Sri Syed Mukhtar Al-Bukhary, and Proton will have the access to global OEM technology through DRB lines of alliance especially on the global assembling and distribution of global OEM products. It could potentially do the contract manufacturing to increase the utilization of Proton manufacturing plant, which long has been under utilized. With the Pekan's assembly complex combined together with Proton existing Shah Alam and especially Tanjung Malim plant, there is a huge potential waiting to be unlocked.

The manufacturing arm could even be setup to stand alone, as a separate entity and can be goes for listing. This will turn Proton into somekind of multi-entity, with the vehicle development controlled by "current Proton" while the manufacturing arm is under other entity. Same goes for sales and service division.

There's a also a potential of Proton tapping into the manufacturing arm contract, by basing their new cars on the product that will then be produced in their facilities. Hence, Malaysian can finally get a world-class cars designed by world-class engineers with global quality excellence. 

The announcement today is what has been expected, since Proton and DRB-Hicom counter has been suspended today from trading. The buyer selection is however is not a surprise, as other bids are perhaps weaker in potential, or appeared to be too "foreign" to be selected. Among the other runner are MBO by Datuk Seri Mohd Nadzmi, consortium of Genii Capital and Sri Arumugam and even NAZA group has launched their own bid. 

Now that the sales has been finalized, can we start selling off the lost-making subsidary?

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