Now that the definitive agreement for the Proton-Geely partnership has been signed, DRB-Hicom has revealed more details about Proton’s turnaround plan. On hand to feed the information to the media was Datuk Sri Syed Faisal Albar, group managing director of DRB-Hicom.

During his presentation, Faisal explained the roles played by the government, Zhejiang Geely (ZGH), DRB-Hicom and other parties in relation to Proton, and we start with the carmaker’s new partner – Geely.

Firstly, Geely will provide Proton with a consideration (funding) amounting to RM460.3 million, with RM170.3 being a cash injection, and the remainder being the cost of supplying the Boyue SUV platform. According to Proton, the valuation of the Boyue platform was undertaken independently by KPMG.

The total consideration is what Geely is fronting to acquire its 49.9% stake in Proton, which has an implied post-money valuation of RM922.4 million. It was also revealed that the implied pre-money valuation of Proton amounted to RM462.1 million – the value of DRB-Hicom’s remaining 50.1% stake.

Research and development will be an important aspect of the partnership, with Geely assisting Proton in terms of acquiring the latest technologies. Additionally, Proton’s R&D division will be transformed into one of Geely’s global centre of excellence, allowing it to develop future models.

There’s also the matter of Proton relocating its operations to Tanjung Malim, which will allow it to be a manufacturing hub for right-hand drive Geely models. As the Chinese company will be supplying platforms and technologies to Proton, it will also impart its management expertise relating to manufacturing to ensure compliance.

As for the assembly of Volvo cars at Tanjung Malim, Faisal said this is a possibility if there is excess capacity that can be spared to do so. This will also provide local vendors with the opportunity to be part of a global shared purchasing system, encouraging business growth outside of Proton.

With Geely’s side explained, what about the government then? For starters, the remainder of Proton’s RM1.5 billion soft loan in the form of a second redeemable convertible cumulative preference shares (RCCPS) issue (RM250 million) that will be released today following the signing.

Moving on, we arrive at the grant requested by Proton totalling RM1.1 billion as reimbursement for its previous R&D efforts. The government has said the reimbursement will only be given if Proton finds a strategic partner with a definitive agreement, which now makes the company eligible.

Faisal pointed out that such a request was first submitted as far back as 2010 (before DRB-Hicom’s acquisition), where Proton was seeking RM3.7 billion. On the mention of loans, Proton will also back its syndicated loan of RM533 million to Malaysian banks to ensure a clean balance sheet.

On DRB-Hicom’s end, Proton will transfer all non-automotive assets worth RM1.2 billion to its parent company, and repay all shareholder advances totalling RM567 million. In exchange, DRB-Hicom will also undertake any warranty and unmet volume amounting to RM331 million to ensure a clean slate for the partnership.

In addition, DRB-Hicom will also foot the bill on a new R&D test track, something that is missing in Tanjung Malim. As Proton will vacate from Shah Alam, which is where it currently has a test track of its own, a new one is a necessity in Tanjung Malim for the development of future models.

Aside from its dealings with Proton, DRB-Hicom will have its own engagements with the government arising from this deal, by purchasing RM350 million worth of RCCPS back from the government on behalf of Proton. Faisal revealed that although this purchase isn’t due until 2023, the government requires DRB-Hicom to purchase the RCCPS as part of a deal, before Proton is allowed to undergo any reorganisation.

The government will also forfeit its conversion rights in Proton to show its intent to no longer be involved in the carmaker. These rights will be held by DRB-Hicom, but to ensure the government’s default risk is minimised if Proton is unable to repay its RM1.5 billion soft loan, DRB-Hicom’s RM1.2 billion asset pledge acts as a form of collateral (the remainder should be the RM350 million worth of RCCPS that DRB-Hicom buys from the government).

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