Proton logoEnlarge Photo
Malaysian conglomerate DRB-Hicom is looking to offload its majority stake in fellow Malaysian firm Proton and two of the potential bidders are reported to be China’s Geely and France’s PSA Group.
The information was reported on Sunday by the Financial Times which cited an anonymous source familiar with the matter. Geely and PSA are expected to place bids in the coming days.
Separately, Proton a week ago told the Financial Times that a deal is expected to be completed within the first half of 2017, though the automaker didn't mention of the any bidders.
DRB-Hicom, which in 2012 paid $410 million for a controlling stake in Proton, the parent company of Lotus, has been attempting to sell its stake since at least last fall. At the time, PSA confirmed it had responded to DRB-Hicom.
2017 Lotus Exige Sport 380Enlarge Photo
Renault and Suzuki were reported to have also responded to DRB-Hicom, though neither is thought to be interested in placing bids at present.
PSA is also in talks with General Motors about acquiring Opel—a deal that could be announced as early as this week and rumored to be worth approximately $2 billion. Acquiring Proton would provide PSA with production facilities and a sales network in the Southeast Asian market.
There would be similar gains for Geely. The Chinese automaker could also gain access to cars with right-hand-drive designs. Currently, Geely’s lineup, not including those models from its luxury brand Volvo, is made up entirely of vehicles with left-hand drive only.
Proton’s plants in Malaysia have annual capacity of 600,000 cars, though last year the automaker built just 150,000.