Proton says it is aiming to announce its foreign strategic partner in April, though there is a possibility that this could stretch to the end of June, Bernama reports. It had initially been reported last year that an announcement would be made by the end of March.

Proton CEO Datuk Ahmad Fuaad Kenali said the national automaker is expecting to receive a complete proposal from the interested parties from February and will make an announcement once the final partner has been selected.

“It is a complex transaction for a complex industry and this will surely take time,” he said. Following the proposals, the automaker will still have to do a lot of clarification and evaluation, he added.

“There could be further negotiations prior to the conclusion, but hopefully a signing can be done before the end of the first half of the year,” he said, adding that the deal involved Proton as a group and will be inclusive of Lotus Group, its wholly-owned unit.

Ahmad Fuaad reiterated that there are three foreign companies on the strategic partner shortlist, all of which are carrying out a due diligence process on Proton. He however declined to reveal the trio of automakers. Earlier reports had intimated that PSA Group, Renault and Suzuki were among interested parties seeking to buy into Proton.