Initial hints of Proton might divest itself of Lotus appeared when Khazanah Nasional Berhad (the government-owned investment arm which holds a percentage stake in Proton) confirmed that they have received offers for Lotus. This speculation of a sale that might come has raised the company’s stock prices to almost 50% recently.
This is not the first time that someone or some company is interested in Lotus. In October this year, there were reports that Genii Capital was looking to acquire the British sports car maker. Genii Capital is also the part owner of the Lotus Renault GP racing team. Another rumoured candidate who is eyeing the British marque is Chinese company, Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation (SAIC).
Proton denied those reports and stated that they are committed in Lotus’ US$750 million five year development plan. This plan which is currently in its second year will see new models from the company and one of them is the new Lotus Esprit.
The company mentioned that it will only be in 2014 that they will make any profit and in order to achieve this, Lotus has to sell around 8000 of their cars. In their last annual report, the company sold around 2000 cars and it looks like they have to increase their sales by four times its current level.
Lotus’ five year turnaround plan is probably the best way for the company to move forward and one of the things needed for this is a deep pocket which the current owner might not have.
Photo credit: Net Car Show