Could the UK be losing another icon? With the sale of Proton and its stake in Lotus, could Lotus go the way of MG and transfer production to China?
According to Bloomberg, Chinese billionaire Li Shufu said his Zhejiang Geely Holding Group will consider producing Lotus sports cars in China after agreeing to purchase stakes in Malaysian carmaker Proton Holdings Bhd. and its British unit.
Geely signed a final deal to acquire 49.9 percent of Proton and 51 percent of Lotus Cars from Malaysia’s DRB-Hicom Bhd., and expects to complete the transaction in three months, the Chinese automaker said in a statement in Kuala Lumpur on Friday. It will then form a core management team recruited from a pool of global candidates to ensure the smooth operation of Proton, the company said.
Li said the priority will be to make Proton and Lotus profitable and to sustain growth while embracing new technology trends of electrification, vehicle lightweighting and artificial intelligence. Geely, which bought Sweden’s Volvo Cars in 2010, said the acquisition will help the automaker to be a major player in Southeast Asia and achieve a sales target of 3 million units by 2020.
In a statement, Li said …
The deep regional knowledge we gain from Proton and Lotus through this transformative partnership, coupled with our technological expertise and leadership in innovation, opens the door for Zhejiang Geely to become a major player in the Asean market. We will work together to make the most of our respective strengths.
DRB-Hicom said last month that it’s selling Lotus for 100 million pounds ($130 million) with each paying proportionately. Malaysian tycoon Syed Mokhtar Al-Bukhary controls both DRB-Hicom and Etika Automotive.
The Proton deal will include an investment of 170.3 million ringgit ($40 million) by Geely. In addition, the Chinese company will provide Proton with its Boyue sport utility vehicle platform, a transaction valued at 290 million ringgit, Syed Faisal Albar, group managing director of DRB-Hicom, said at press conference in Kuala Lumpur.
Note: This story originally appeared in part or whole on Bloomberg.com.