30 May 2012

DRB Hicom's wholly owned Proton Holdings Managing Director Datuk Seri Syed Zainal Abidin Syed Mohamed Tahir and chief financial officer (CFO) Azhar Othman resigns

(DRBHCOM opening stock price today (31.5.2012) was RM 2.43)

Proton Holdings Bhd yesterday confirmed the resignation of Datuk Seri Syed Zainal Abidin Syed Mohamed Tahir as group managing director, with effect from July 4 2012.

The national carmaker, in a statement, also announced the resignation of its chief financial officer Azhar Othman, effective July 6 2012.

Proton said its executive chairman, Datuk Seri Mohd Khamil Jamil, who is also DRB-HICOM managing director, would continue to lead the company.

“Syed Zainal has been with Proton for over six years and we are grateful for his contributions to the company.

He has decided to leave Proton on his own accord to pursue his own interests and we respect his decision,” the company said.

On Monday, Proton said Lotus Group plc chief executive officer Dany Bahar had been temporarily suspended to facilitate an investigation into a complaint about his conduct made by DRB-HICOM, which is Lotus’ penultimate parent company.

Proton also reiterated that its holding company, DRB-HICOM, was not planning to sell Lotus.

This dismissed fresh speculations on its intention to dispose of Proton’s whollyowned sportscar unit.

“Lotus is an iconic brand with global presence and positioning,
coupled with unsurpassed engineering expertise and a talented workforce,” he said in the statement.

Earlier this month, Mohd Khamil visited Lotus facilities at Hethel in Norfolk, Britain. During the visit, he met with South Norfolk member of parliament Richard Bacon and British Business Secretary Vince Cable.

“They were both very supportive of our views with regard to the future plans for Lotus. And subsequent to the meetings, the British Government has agreed to consider reactivating the £10
million (RM49.41 million) Regional Growth Fund pledge to support Lotus’s vehicle development plans in Norfolk,” he said.

Mohd Kamil said both Proton and DRBHICOM would continue to review Lotus’ existing business plans and financial position.

“DRB-HICOM has sent in a team comprising local and international consultants to Lotus from March 2012 to conduct an operations and legal audit on Lotus group of companies,” he added.

According to him, the review is important in view of Lotus’ existing financial obligation in the form of a £270 million syndicated loan taken at the end of 2010, for which Proton has given its corporate guarantee.

Proton, when releasing its third-quarter results, noted that Lotus was in a technical breach of certain post-drawdown covenants on its existing long-term loan.

The British sportscar maker has been a major strain to Proton’s cashflow over the years.

Source: www.btimes.com.my


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