At the launch of the new Proton Persona today, DRB-Hicom reiterated its support for the national carmaker and said that it will continue to hold a ‘strategic stake’ in Proton, even with a foreign partner in the picture.

“DRB-Hicom will continue to hold a strategic stake in Proton. We will definitely not sell 100%,” DRB-Hicom group CEO Datuk Seri Syed Faisal Albar said, when asked if the conglomerate is looking to fully divest its interest in Proton.

Recent reports have mentioned the possibility of Proton’s current owner selling 100% of its stake to a foreign party. This has already been refuted by DRB-Hicom, which said that it is “highly committed to hold [sic] a substantial and strategic stake” in the national carmaker, and is confident of the Proton’s turnaround plan.

DRB-Hicom earlier said that Proton is in the midst of undergoing a Request For Proposal (RFP) exercise in seeking a permanent partner that is a strategic, operational and cultural fit, as part of the requirements for the government’s RM1.5 billion soft loan.


This exercise is expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2017, and its implementation is being overseen by a task force committee formed by the government to monitor the progress of Proton’s turnaround. DRB-Hicom stated that it will make any appropriate announcements to Bursa Malaysia in a timely manner, in accordance with listing requirements, as and when necessary.

International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed, who officiated the Persona launch, said that the government does not have plans to take over Proton, and that it’s vital for the carmaker to find a strategic foreign partner, which is part of the terms of the RM1.5b soft loan. That should be done by the first quarter of 2017, he said.

Late last month, Mustapa said that a few leading automakers from Europe, China and Japan have expressed interest to become Proton’s strategic partner. “The government wants Proton to ensure its strategic partner has the capability to lift the company once again. The strategic partner must also have the technology, capital and export network,” he said.