Proton logoProton Holdings Bhd has just announced a Q4 net profit of 236.4 million ringgit, compared to 915,000 ringgit during the same period the previous year.

Sales climbed from 1.26 billion ringgit up to 1.72 billion ringgit for the financial year of 2007 (which Proton attributed to the Persona and Saga), resulting in a net profit of 202.9 million ringgit.

Proton Financial Results

Don’t be shocked that profit before tax for the financial year was listed as RM162.2 million, but somehow net profit for the financial year ended up more than the profit before tax. It’s probably due to tax refunds or something similiar from prior periods.

For the new financial year which will end on the 31st of March 2009, Proton plans to improve its export performance, with the Saga set to be launched in Proton’s major export markets from June 2008 onwards. We’ll get to see whether foreign media share the enthusiasm of a large amount of people here in Malaysia that are happy with the value that the Proton Saga gives. I’m very curious how the Saga will be priced in markets outside of Malaysia, which will decide what budget cars it will go against.

As for production levels, Proton is planning to increase its current production level of 6,400 units monthly up to 8,000 units monthly in the next few months. Production levels were only about 4,500 units a month before April 2008. This is in efforts to meet high demand for its Proton Persona and Proton Saga cars. Last I heard, even the automatic version of the Proton Waja CPS has a waiting list because of fleet purchases.

The Proton MPV is still set to be launched in early 2009, so we should expect to see on-road sightings of the MPV sometime before the end of the year. After its local debut, the MPV will make its way to export markets like Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam in 2010, and China in 2011.

UPDATE: If you take a look at their full Q4 financial results report document, you will find that on page 8 it is report that Proton received an R&D grant from the government under the National Automotive Policy amounting to a total of RM194 million.

The NAP encourages local investment through various incentives such as R&D grants and excise duty exemptions. So for Proton, the benefits from the NAP are RM194 million worth of R&D grant money, an unknown amount of excise duty exemptions through the Industrial Adjustment Fund. The RM194 million is registered under Other Operating Income, which accounts for more than half of the total of RM329.3 million worth of Other Operating Income for the financial year ending 31st of March 2008.

Another interesting item is the sale of the rights to use Intellectual Property for RM32 million: this is the Jinhua Youngman Europestar RCR deal which involves rebadged left hand drive Proton GEN2s sold in China, as explained on page 10.