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Free Website Counters SPY the Man: May 2006

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Proton posts RM47m net profit

Proton Holdings Bhd posted a net profit, albeit one of its smallest in its 20-year history, of RM47.02 million in the year ended March 31, 2006 despite significant losses in the first two quarters.

It was a sharp drop from a net profit of RM442.44 million in the previous year, due to lower sales and higher allowances for doubtful debts and promotion costs.

The fall was also due to higher components cost and allowance for stock obsolescence, and 28% lower income figures from associated and jointly controlled entities.

Proton recently lost out to Perodua in the national car market, with a 30% share compared with Perodua's 44% last month. Proton rolled out its first vehicles in 1985 and started making profits in 1991.

The full year results were boosted by the performance of the fourth quarter, in which it recorded a net profit of RM127.2 million on the back of revenues totalling RM1.8 billion.

In the fourth quarter, it registered a pre-tax profit of RM95.3 million, marginally lower than RM96 million profits in 3Q ended December 2005.

Its managing director Syed Zainal Abidin Syed Mohamed Tahir said it was a marked contrast to (pre-tax) losses of RM4.3 million and RM158.8 million in the first and second quarters, respectively. It made a net profit of RM86.51 million in the third quarter.

"Compared to 4Q last year which saw the national car company making a (pre-tax) loss of RM202.6 million, Proton made a relatively strong comeback despite what was described as a “challenging year”," he said.

He said the latest quarterly results reflected a more financially-resilient Proton as a result of tighter cost control despite a nationwide dip of 9% in sales of passenger cars.

Speaking at a media briefing in Shah Alam yesterday, he said the Satria replacement model to be launched early next month was expected to boost sales. "This will be supplemented by the introduction of two more new models before the new financial year is out.”

He said Proton was considering producing Wira cars in Indonesia when it stopped local production of the model.

Syed Zainal said Proton was still in talks with Volkswagen over potential strategic alliance. "We are still reviewing and studying objectively whether it is in our programme line-up or not."

He said Proton hoped to conclude discussions soon with PSA Peugeot-Citroen for a possible alliance, which would be different from the tie-up with Mitsubishi Motor Corporation, as it would be more “elaborate” in terms of new models.

Syed Zainal said Proton was a logical partner as PSA wanted to penetrate the Asean market. On whether talks include an equity stake in the national carmaker, he said: “It’s hard to say.”

On the tie-up with Mitsubishi, he said Proton was already in “advanced stages” of concluding the feasibility studies on their alliance, which he hoped to do so by next month.

He said Proton was also interested to export its cars to Thailand and was exploring a possible alliance in India. “We are finalising discussions with the Indian partner.”

On the outlook, Syed Zainal said: “Intense competition in both domestic and export markets are expected to continue to put pressure on Proton’s sales and profitability.

“Compounded by higher oil price and increase in electricity tariff, purchasing power will be further depressed, resulting in a margin squeeze for Proton.

“In addition, the hardening of interest rate and tighter credit control by financial institutions will continue to dampen car sales,” he said.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Proton plans MPV, SUV to boost sales

KUALA LUMPUR: Proton Holdings Bhd would introduce the much-sought-after MPV (multi purpose vehicle) and SUV (sports utility vehicle) in 18 to 24 months to boost local and foreign sales.

Whether the MPV and SUV would be developed via a foreign collaboration is not known. Proton is keen to fill the gap in its product line up in the fast growing MPVs and SUVs segments since it plans to target high growth markets such as China, India and Asean to boost exports.

This is necessary since domestic sales have eroded with the lowering of tariffs on foreign cars under the Asian Free Trade Area, making the price of foreign cars more attractive to car buyers.

Proton’s market share has dropped to 41% from 61% in 2002.

But the car company is unwilling to surrender control of Proton at any cost to obtain technology from its partners, even though it believes that building strategic alliances is the way forward.

“We are facing restrictions on our competitiveness and are seeking strategic alliances but we are not prepared to give up our values,” Proton manufacturing director Datuk Kamarulzaman Darus said.

“One must not be controlled to get technology and economies of scale,” he said in his speech at the KL Automotive Conference 2006 in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.

Proton had, early this year, ditched Germany’s Volkswagen AG as a possible equity partner, as the national carmaker did not want to give up management control of Proton.

Turning to the SUV and MPV, Kamarulzaman said the development had begun. By that, he means Proton is assessing the market, product demand and talking to various parties.

He declined to elaborate, but merely said: “I can assure you we are developing the product and in the normal course of business, the market certainly would like the product as soon as possible. We are thinking of 24 months, if not less.”

Asked if the SUV would be developed by Proton or in cooperation with other parties, Kamarulzaman said: “Not only the SUV, (but also) the MPV and all the other products. We intend to develop them ourselves with the support from our strategic partner, Lotus.”

He declined to comment if the SUV and MPV would be developed jointly with Proton's new partners from China.

On Tuesday, Proton entered into an understanding with parties in China to undertake feasibility studies with regard to evaluating opportunities and possibilities in providing assembly services and the distribution of vehicles of Proton and Chery brands in China, Malaysia and Asean.

The agreement was signed with China’s Chery Automobile Co and Malaysia’s Alado Corp Sdn Bhd.

Proton's unit Lotus Engineering (M) Sdn Bhd also entered into an understanding with Jinhua Youngman Automobile Group Co to undertake a joint feasibility study on designing, developing and selling completely knocked down vehicles in China.

Kamaruzaman said the companies had up to Aug 28 to complete the studies.

Asked if Proton’s Tanjung Malim plant would be used to assemble some cars for Alado and Chery, he said: “We have to look at the real value and the value-added benefits.”

He also said that China, India and Asean remained the key markets for Proton to expand its exports.

“There is no point in entering every country. We must have an integrated offering and our approach should be about sustainability,” he added.

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Monday, May 22, 2006

SPY ----> Porsche 911 Hamann

Thursday, May 18, 2006

SPY ----> Opel Corsa 3 doors

SPY ----> Hyundai Accent Hybrid version

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

SPY ----> Hummer H1 (STOP production soon)

Monday, May 15, 2006

SPY ----> BMW Mille Miglia Concept car

SPY ----> Citroen C-Buggy Concept car

SPY ----> Hyundai Getz Cross

SPY ----> Hummer Sheriff use car (Police car)

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)