Proton Holdings Bhd is fast-tracking a revival plan to stop losses and boost sales, and will likely submit its proposals to its controlling shareholder Khazanah Nasional Bhd by year-end, Second Finance Minister Tan Sri Nor Mohamed Yakcop said.
"They are working on the plan. Work (is) in progress. There is no time frame but it is on a fast-track basis," he told reporters in Kuala Lumpur on Sept 5.
Asked if the plan would involve the entry of a foreign investor, Nor Mohamed said: "I cannot tell."
He was asked to respond to a news wire report yesterday, quoting him as saying Proton and its 43% shareholder Khazanah were studying whether it needed a foreign investor or local entrepreneurs to help revive the company.
"More and more, we think that there could be a role for a foreign investor who is in the motor industry to play an important role in bringing Proton to a higher level," he was quoted as saying by Bloomberg .
The Edge weekly also reported this week that DRB-Hicom Bhd and the Naza group had submitted proposals to acquire Khazanah’s stake in Proton. Khazanah is the government's investment arm.
Asked to respond to The Edge report, Nor Mohamed said he had not seen proposals by any local companies seeking to acquire a stake in Proton.
He was speaking to reporters after launching Bursa Malaysia’s Corporate Social Responsibility Framework for public listed companies in Kuala Lumpur on Sept 5.
Proton's net loss widened by 375% to RM58.65 million in the first quarter ended June 30, 2006 from a loss of RM12.35 million a year earlier due to lower sales amid a competitive environment.
Its car sales fell 27% to 32,200 units from 44,367 a year earlier, while revenue fell 30.7% to RM1.42 billion from RM2.05 billion.
On Khazanah’s plans to issue a US$1 billion (RM3.63 billion) global Islamic capital market instrument, Nor Mohamed said it was going to be a unique and sophisticated instrument compared to the others in the market now.
“The issuance will be soon. Just wait for Khazanah to make the announcement,” he said when asked when the instrument, most likely a bond, would be issued.
Nor Mohamed also said the expansionary Budget 2007 was to ensure that the country’s growth momentum was strongly sustained.
“We have to take into account external geopolitical situations, like increasing oil prices, higher interest rates and decline in global growth rates.”
“We have the extra resources to spend, thanks to higher oil prices and better collection, and need to maintain strong growth to achieve our targets for Vision 2020 and the national mission,” he said.