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MALAYSIA
Automotive/Proton Sales
July 18, 2007

Govt keen to sell stake to right partner
Malaysian government wants to sell its 42.74% stake in national carmaker Proton Holdings Bhd but will not do it hastily, state news agency quoted International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Rafidah Aziz as saying July 18.

The government holds the shares via its investment arm Khazanah Nasional Bhd while the Employees Provident Fund (EPF) and national oil corporation Petronas own 12.07% and 8.84% respectively.

"What we are looking for now is for somebody to buy the government-owned shares and that somebody should be able to provide the right kind of technology," Rafidah said.

"So, that is the status. It is just like a marriage. You just don't get married. Check first and discuss. Similarly, you cannot sell off just like that, it must be a right partner who knows the industry. Not just somebody that has money," she said.

Rafidah said this when asked on the government's plan with regard to Proton, given that there has been a delay in finding a strategic partner, during a question-and-answer sessions after the "Investment Opportunities in Malaysia" seminar in Tokyo.

However, the minister was quick to point it doesn't matter when and if the government really its shares. "We can keep it," she said, but added that to move forward, Proton needed a suitable technology partner to improve its cars and find new markets. Asked if the government will continue the national car project, Rafidah, who is in Tokyo on a trade and investment mission, said Proton will continue to be a car manufacturer.

"Proton as a company will continue, no doubt about it, but it must have a future strategy. They must have the right kind of partnership from Japan or anywhere in the world so that they can expand their production base," she said. Bernama

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