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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs   19 March 2012

Proton’s direction to continue under DRB-HICOM’s ownership

Proton Holdings Bhd's original aim to spearhead the nation's car industry will not be changed following its takeover by DRB-HICOM Bhd, said Minister of International Trade and Industry, Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed.

Mustapa said DRB-HICOM was among the key players involved in the automotive sector eco-system from manufacturing, supply of parts, assembly and distribution of commercial vehicles and motorcycles.

He said DRB-HICOM's 26 years' experience in the local car sector and its strong strategic tie-ups with top carmakers like Volkswagen, Honda, Audi and Isuzu, represented its strong assets.

"The new business model that will be introduced by DRB-HICOM will ensure the continuity of the glory of Proton and the whole automotive eco-system to come,"

Mustapa said this in reply to a question by Khairy Jamaluddin (BN-Rembau) at Dewan Rakyat here Monday.

Khairy wanted to know Proton's direction and strategy, other than efforts to reduce costs and boost efficiency, after DRB-HICOM's takeover.

Mustapa said DRB-HICOM has plans on all aspects of Proton's business.

For a start, he said, there were various opportunities to realise synergy between Proton and DRB-HICOM which would improve the efficiency and productivity of the nation's car industry.

On Proton's future under DRB-HICOM, Mustapa said, Proton's cars would be protected as national brand in efforts to develop the local car industry to penetrate global market.

"Other than that, DRB-HICOM will find ways to reduce protection for the local car industry in stages and at the same time boost competitiveness and identify new markets," he said.

He said DRB-HICOM would also hasten Proton's transformation programme, including rationalisation and to achieve synergy.

To a question by Saifuddin Nasution Ismail (PKR-Machang) on the sale by Khazanah Nasional Bhd of its shares in Proton to DRB-HICOM at RM5.50 a share compared with RM8 Khazanah had paid earlier to acquire the stake, Mustapa said the deal was based on bidding.

"We cannot discount the possibility that market forces may influence the price of the shares.

On whether Khazanah made a loss or profit from the sale of the shares, Mustapa said, the government investment arm had long wanted to get out of the car industry because it had not received good returns from the investment.

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This year in Thailand-what next?

AseanAffairs   04 January 2011
By David Swartzentruber      

It is commonplace in journalism to write two types of articles at the transition point between the year that has passed and the New Year. As this writer qualifies as an “old hand” in observing Thailand with a track record dating back 14 years, it is time take a shot at what may unfold in Thailand in 2011.

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