Proton has confirmed initial reports by Bloomberg that up to 51 percent of Proton Holdings could be put up for sale.
Speaking at the press conference following the launch of the all-new 2016 Proton Saga in Setia Alam earlier today, Datuk Seri Syed Faisal Albar, Group Managing Director of DRB-Hicom, the owner of Proton Holdings revealed that Proton is in talks with five foreign car makers, and that a decision will be made next year.
Without revealing the identity of the five suitors, Faisal adds that the five proposals made by the foreign car makers are concrete.
He also said that DRB-Hicom will naturally wish to maintain its majority stake in Proton, the company is not opposed to the idea of ceding majority control, if the proposal is in Proton’s best interest in the longer term.
"There are a few criteria that we are looking at. First, we ask ourselves whether or not there is a strategic fit [between the two car makers]; and then whether or not there is operational fit, and cultural fit. These three things are quite key to DRB-Hicom and Proton," Faisal elaborated.
Earlier reports have indicated the Czech Republic's Skoda (a budget brand owned by Germany’s Volkswagen Group), France’s Renault, as well as Group PSA (Peugeot and Citroen) and Japan's Suzuki are among the interested buyers of Proton’s stake.
A separate report by the New Straits Times have also said that China’s Geely Automobile Holdings, which also owns Sweden’s Volvo Cars is also in talks with Proton.