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KUALA LUMPUR (May 2): Zhejiang Geely Holding Group Co Ltd (ZGH) has transferred its entire 49.9% stake in Proton Holdings Bhd to a unit of Hong Kong-listed Geely Automobile Holdings Ltd (Geely Auto) as part of the group’s internal restructuring, said Proton’s majority owner DRB-Hicom Bhd.

The 49.9% stake, previously held by ZGH’s wholly owned unit Geely International (Hong Kong) Ltd, was transferred to Linkstate Overseas Ltd, which is wholly owned by Geely Auto.

“The transfer of Proton Holdings Bhd shares from Geely International to Linkstate will not have any effect on the net assets, earnings, gearing, share capital, shareholding structure and substantial shareholders’ shareholdings of the DRB-Hicom group for the financial year ending Dec 31, 2023,” DRB-Hicom said in a bourse filing.

According to Geely Auto’s annual report, the HK-listed auto entity is 41.92% owned by the larger ZGH group, which is in turn 91.08% owned by billionaire Li Shu Fu.

With the restructuring, ZGH’s effective interest in Proton stands at 20.92%.

ZGH bought the 49.9% stake in Proton in 2017 for RM460 million, of which RM170 million was injected into the national carmaker, while the balance RM290 million came from transfer of Geely’s platform for its best-selling vehicle, the Boyue SUV — rebadged as Proton X70 — to the company.

At the time, ZGH also bought 51% in Lotus Advance Technology Sdn Bhd from DRB-Hicom for £51 million, while Tan Sri Syed Mokhtar Albukhary’s private unit Etika Automotive Sdn Bhd bought the remaining 49% from DRB-Hicom for another £49 million.

From 64,740 units sold in 2018, Proton sales exceeded 100,000 units in 2019 and stood at over 140,000 units in 2022, taking up the second spot in Malaysia with a 19.6% market share.

In January, Lotus said it is planning the listing of its luxury electric vehicle unit Lotus Technology Inc on Nasdaq in the US.

The listing, which will see a merger between Lotus Tech and special purpose acquisition firm L Catterton Asia Acquisition Corp, will value the combined company at US$5.4 billion.

Shares of DRB-Hicom closed three sen or 2.13% higher at RM1.44 on Tuesday (May 2), giving the group a market capitalisation of RM2.78 billion.

Edited ByS Kanagaraju
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