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Free Website Counters SPY the Man: MV Agusta ‘could have been profitable’Former Proton boss Tengku Mahaleel asks the RM340m question... How about Lotus for £1?

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

MV Agusta ‘could have been profitable’Former Proton boss Tengku Mahaleel asks the RM340m question... How about Lotus for £1?

MV Agusta ‘could have been profitable’Former Proton boss Tengku Mahaleel asks the RM340m question... How about Lotus for £1?


Maybe it was meant to be cheeky. Or flippant. Or a dig at the powerbrokers at Proton Holdings.But Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Tengku Tan Sri Mahaleel Tengku Ariff have offered to buy the Lotus Group for £1 (RM6.50) from Proton.Tengku Mahaleel, the former chief executive officer, noted that Proton had set a precedent by selling a Malaysian-owned foreign firm for a token amount with the disposal of MV Agusta SpA."Since a precedent has been set, we would like to publicly register our interest to acquire (Lotus) for £1, if and when it is up for sale," he said today.He added that they would also like to table a bid even if Proton considers selling Lotus for more than £1.He was speaking at a Press conference to seek clarification from Proton on the MV Agusta sale.Tengku Mahaleel said he and Dr Mahathir were disappointed that Proton had not responded to their queries after MV Agusta was sold to GEVI SpA for E1 (RM4.42). The Press conference was called to clear the perception that he and Dr Mahathir had made a bad call in buying MV Agusta.He wanted to know why the current Proton management had taken such a short time to sell MV Agusta, compared with the 14 months it took to complete the purchase."It took us 14 months to decide and complete the acquisition of MV Agusta, and they got rid of it in two-odd months.""Why were there no consultants hired to thrash out the decision?"He stressed that the MV Agusta management neither had an opportunity to state their case nor were they included in the meetings to decide the company’s fate.He claimed Proton had also refused an offer from MV Agusta chairman and shareholder Claudio Castiglioni to buy it for E1 and assume its liabilities in order to save it.Tengku Mahaleel dismissed the notion that MV Agusta was not a profitable venture, saying that it could be a money-spinner for Proton in the medium term.He noted that the firm was expected to make a pre-tax profit of E50 million in 2010, based on a PriceWaterhouseCoopers forecast."With the changing Malaysian auto policy, Proton’s future cash flow will not be sustainable as its domestic market share falls below 30 per cent. Therefore, the combination of Lotus and MV Agusta is crucial for Proton’s future."
Tengku Mahaleel on...• Why he was lobbying for MV Agusta after it had been sold:"I wish to clarify that (Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and I) have been judged, sort of inferred as being ‘parties’ in making that decision. We asked for a response (from Proton). This is of national interest. You, too, would ask for a statement if you are Malaysian."It is important that the public know the real reasons why we bought MV Agusta and the process behind it."• The reasons for the sale of MV Agusta by Proton:"That’s what I want to know. I don’t know. I don’t want to give my opinion about that. It was a unanimous decision on buying Agusta."There were briefings and the board was updated about them. There were Khazanah representatives on the board, too. And there are still three common directors on the board."So, I’m just like you, equally puzzled. The decision to sell was made in August, but by whom? You’ve destroyed the value of the other shareholders at the same time."• Whether Proton sold Agusta because its core business is cars:"In the context of assets, very simple. Is Honda motorcycle a core (business) of Honda? Is BMW motorcycle a core business of BMW Group? The answer is there."• The absence of Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad:"He is overseas. The last time he did (a Press conference), now I do, lah. 50-50."• News that he was taking legal action against Proton:"That is a legal matter, you have to talk to my lawyers. If I talk now, my lawyers will kill me. We’ll have a separate Press conference on that subject later when I get the OK from my lawyers."• A report in an Italian motor magazine likening the internal struggle in Proton to a "civil war":"Yes, that is not good for Malaysia. If you look at Proton’s stock price today, what does it tell you? When I left, they all said, ‘Oh, it went up to RM9’. "During my time, the stock price was between RM7 and RM8 a share. Now, it is around RM5. The world has made a judgment on this."


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What is the main factor for you to buy a Proton Car?
Low price and no other choice due to budget
Good resale value
Low maintenance cost
Ride & Handling is good
Reliable parts, chasis and engine
Good Styling exterior & Interior
Patriotism (I support Made in Malaysia Products)
Follow others (Follow Majorities should be the best choice)