Malaysia's Proton owner says looking at 5 proposals for stake sale

Malaysia's Proton owner says looking at 5 proposals for stake sale

However, he said the deal will likely only be finalised earliest by the first quarter of 2017.

"We have obtained proposals from several interested parties and we are at a stage of reviewing and understanding [their] proposals. We will be going around to meet them, and to understand their proposals", he told reporters at an event.

He said Proton would like to see what the potential partners could offer before deciding on the stake to be disposed of. We hope to identify the potential partner by next year and complete the exercise by the middle of next year.

Syed Faisal said one of the conditions for the RM1.5 billion soft loan given by the government was for Proton to find a strategic partner.

Managing director Syed Faisal Albar Syed Ali Rethza Albar declined to name the firms that have shown an interest.

"Such deals might involve giving some equity, but we will maintain control of the company", he said.

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"Our future partner would need to be strategically, operationally and culturally fit, and on top of that they have to be able to work together with our vendors", said Syed Faisal.

He said the group had looked at a few criteria while short-listing the candidates. Albar stopped short of revealing if it will remain the majority shareholder, and said new possible shareholding structures are "still up in the air".

Local media said DRB-Hicom is considering proposals from Germany's Volkswagen group, Japan's Suzuki Motor and French automakers Peugeot and Renault, among others. The third-generation, 1.3-liter model launched on Wednesday is slated to sell at least 5,000 units monthly.

The new Proton Saga comes in three variants - Standard, Executive and Premium - with prices starting from RM36,800 to RM45,800 in Peninsular Malaysia.

Minister of Youth and Sports Khairy Jamaluddin Abu Bakar (centre) launching the all-new Proton Saga 1.3L.

"We have not decided on that number at all".