ProtonProton is in the red again for the financial year 2008/2009 after a short stint of profitability for the 2007/2008 financial year. Profit of RM144 million in the previous financial year dropped to a loss of RM338 million for the financial year ended 31st March 2009.

Chairman Dato’ Mohd Nadzmi Mohd Salleh says the results are primarily due to impairment of property, plant and equipment (PPE) and inventory write-down of certain models impacted by volume contraction, and is reflective of the current global economic condition.

He added that the second half of the financial year was dversely affected by the accelerated amortisation of certain dies and jigs as well as the increased costs of components and raw materials arising from higher foreign currency exchange rates, particularly, the Japanese Yen and the US Dollar.

He noted that despite the loss, revenue had actually improved from RM5.62 billion in FY2007/2008 to RM6.49 billion in FY2008/2009, an increase of RM864.98 million. Proton currently has a cash balance of RM899.5 million, down from RM1,173.9 million in FY2007/2008. They also expect to receive a RM81 million R&D grant through the National Automotive Policy for the financial year.

“As a fully fledged automotive company, we spent a substantial amount on the development of new models such as the Proton Exora and Lotus Evora during the year. While this had affected our cash reserves, we will be able to recover when the cars are sold,” said the group’s managing director Dato’ Haji Syed Zainal Abidin.

Dato Haji also adds that Proton intends to double their total sales volume by 2010, with the bulk of improvement coming from improvements in export market sales. The Proton Exora will be launched in Indonesia in July 2009. Proton sold 156,845 cars in FY2008/2009, up from 139,942 in FY2008/2007. Out of that amount, 16,746 or just over 10% were export cars and 2,280 were Lotus cars.

In other Proton related news, the Proton Exora is now eligible for the Proton Xchange programme effective immediately, where customers will be able to trade in their old cars with minimum lifespan of 10 years for a RM5,000 discount.

Look after the jump for the full Q4 results announcement by Proton.