DRB-HICOM explained to the media yesterday the rationale behind it’s proposal to the government to purchase Proton shares owned by Khazanah Nasional. The proposal was on a preliminary level, and submitted a few weeks ago on its own initiative without an invitation from the govenrment, was yet to receive a response from the Government.
DRB-HICOM used to own more than 27% of Proton before selling that stake to Petronas in the year 2000. Now, Petronas owns 7%, while other majority shareholders are Khazanah Nasional which owns 43%, while the EPF owns 12%. Khazanah Nasional’s 43% is actually over the limit that Bursa Malaysia has set for shareholding, but being the government investment arm and all, an exception was made until Khazanah can find someone to buy off the excess shares.
DRB-HICOM says it submitted the proposal because it felt it can assist the development of Proton, especially the distribution and components side. On the matter of distribution, DRB-HICOM owns Proton distributor Edaran Otomobil Nasional Bhd.
DRB-HICOM also has no issues with a foreign partner, referring to the recent news on the government considering letting a foreign partner having a controlling stake in Proton’s manufacturing arm.