Geely to buy Proton and Lotus

Chinese automaker Zhejiang Geely Holding will buy a 49.9% stake in struggling carmaker Proton from Malaysian conglomerate DRB-Hicom reports Automotive News Europe.

Geely is the parent company of Hong Kong-based Geely Automobile Holdings and Sweden’s Volvo Car Group.

Malaysia’s government made a 1.5 billion ringgit (£270.6m) loan to Proton in April 2016, which allowed it to avoid defaulting on obligations to suppliers. The agreement stated that Proton must find a major new investor to put it on a more sustainable financial footing.

The vetting process to find a foreign strategic partner for Proton started last year and involved 15 global auto players, which were eventually short-listed to three final candidates, Malaysia’s Second Finance Minister Johari Abdul Ghani said.

Geely will also acquire a majority share of 51% in UK sports automaker Lotus Cars from Proton.

Geely said it is committed to reviving both Proton and Lotus. ‘The agreement lays the foundation for a wider framework for both Geely Holding, Proton and Lotus to explore joint synergies in areas such as research and development, manufacturing and market presence’ said Geely in the statement.’

Other companies that expressed interest in Proton include PSA Group, Renault and Suzuki Motor.