DRB-HICOM has presented their rationale for their proposal to buy 32.9% of Proton to the Cabinet commitee on transportation last Monday. Among DRB-HICOM’s plans for Proton if the government allows them to take over part of their 39% stake in Proton is the merger of Proton Edar and DRB-HICOM’s distribution unit EON, which also sells Proton cars amongst other marques.

DRB-HICOM says it can turn Proton into a profitable company within 2 years. DRB-HICOM also has no issues with working with a foreign partner in efforts to turn Proton around and lead it towards success. If no foreign partner is selected, DRB-HICOM already has existing working relationships with Renault and GM.

Other local parties interested in Proton include Naza and Mofaz, but DRB-HICOM is pretty confident in this matter. DRB-HICOM executive adviser of the groups automotive and component division Tan Sri Abdul Rahman Omar says he believes DRB-HICOM has a 100% chance, as it makes sense for the government to put Proton under DRB-HICOM considering the Government is a common shareholder in the three companies involved – Proton, DRB-HICOM and EON. Tan Sri Abdul Rahman Omar used to be Perodua’s managing director, and spearheaded Perodua’s restructuring in 2001, which saw Daihatsu and other Japanese companies taking up equity and management control of it’s manufacturing division.

In other news, Proton Holdings Berhad chairman Datuk Azlan Hashim said talks about Volkswagen being shortlisted as a forerunner for Proton’s foreign strategic partner was pre-mature, and no decision has been made yet. The decision will be made by the shareholders, and an announcement will be made when the board is ready.