KUALA LUMPUR Feb 7 Malaysian conglomerate
DRB-Hicom Bhd on Tuesday said it is waiting for
prospective foreign carmakers to submit bids for a strategic
partnership with its Proton Holdings Bhd unit.
"DRB-Hicom is now waiting for the submission of bids from
the parties, after which an earnest evaluation of the bids will
commence," the company, which wholly-owns national carmaker
Proton, said in a statement.
Without naming the bidders, DRB-Hicom said "the parties have
conducted their own due diligence on Proton over the past
DRB-Hicom said it maintains its target of completing the
selection of the foreign strategic partner by the first half of
this year, although it will aim to complete the deal earlier.
The company also reiterated that it will continue to hold a
substantial stake in the struggling carmaker.
"We have stated before that we will maintain a significant
equity in Proton, and this has not changed," the statement read.
DRB-Hicom's share price has risen about 10 percent since
Thursday last week when local media reported that Chinese car
manufacturer Geely was the frontrunner for the partnership.
In September, DRB-Hicom said it was looking at five
proposals from foreign bidders but declined to name them.
Reuters reported earlier that Peugeot maker PSA,
Japan's Suzuki Motor Corp and French carmaker Renault
SA have signalled interest in the
In April last year, the Malaysian government gave Proton 1.5
billion ringgit ($338.18 million) in financial aid on the
condition that it implement a turnaround plan and seek a foreign
partner to assist in research and development.
($1 = 4.4355 ringgit)
(Reporting by Liz Lee; Editing by Sam Holmes)