Malaysia's Proton says Lotus not for sale

12th October 2011, Comments 0 comments

Malaysia's national carmaker Proton said Wednesday that it had no plans to sell a stake in loss-making British-based unit Group Lotus to Luxembourg-based Genii Capital.

Describing the report as "untrue and highly speculative," Proton said it will proceed with its plan to make Lotus a profit-making subsidiary.

"Our priority now is to ensure that the Lotus business turnaround plan is executed according to schedule and that both parties are committed to its success," Proton said in a statement.

Gerard Lopez, Genii's founding partner, is chairman of the Lotus Renault grand prix team, of which Group Lotus is the title sponsor.

Proton bought a controlling stake in the British sports and racing car maker in October 1996, but it has remained debt-ridden since then.

Last June the Malaysian firm unveiled a five-year transformation blueprint for Lotus, including a new management team and plans to launch five new models and boost production to 8,000 cars a year after 2013.

In April it secured a £270 million ($440 million) loan to fund the programme.

In a previous bid to restructure Lotus in 2007, Proton waived debts of up to £16.5 million racked by up the British subsidiary under a recapitalisation exercise.

© 2011 AFP

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