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Equity partner for Proton expected to be determined by May
<p><strong>Equity partner for Proton expected to be determined by May.</strong></p>

Three Finalists in Proton Sweepstakes

The Malaysian automaker isn&rsquo;t identifying who the three potential strategic partners are or where they are based, but says final proposals for a whole or partial sale of the company are expected to be received in February.

Malaysian automaker Proton has whittled down the list of strategic partners to three.

The government news agency Bernama reports Proton CEO Ahmad Fuaad Kenali says all three can provide good technology and know-how.

“They also want to use Proton as a stepping stone to penetrate ASEAN and we have an interest for them to partner us to grow market share in the region specifically, and the global market next,” Ahmad Fuaad says.

“Hopefully, in the future we can capitalize on their assets and intellectual property to take us to greater heights,” he tells reporters.

Proton is seeking a partner that can provide a strategic, operational and cultural fit on a permanent basis.

“From 15 parties who submitted conceptual proposals … the number was reduced to eight, then five, and now three are left, all based on Proton's evaluation of their capabilities, resources and ability to work together,” Ahmad Fuaad is quoted as saying.

Bernama says he refuses to say if China’s Geely Automobile Holdings is one of the three finalists or identify where each of the trio is based.

Ahmad Fuaad also says it is too early to discuss whether the three companies are interested in owning Proton’s entire stake,

“The deal is for the whole group of Proton, including Lotus Group, our wholly owned unit,” he says. “But depending on how they propose to us, it can be either both or one (entity) or a combination.”

Proton’s 100% owner, DRB-Hicom, has said it will continue to hold a strategic stake in Proton, even with a foreign partner.

Proton expects to receive a complete proposal from the three companies in February.

“There could be further negotiations prior to the conclusion, but hopefully a signing can be done by May 2017,” Ahmad Fuaad says.

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