Starting with the buying of a 42.74 percent stake in Proton from Khazanah Nasional Bhd at RM 5.50 a share early this year, DRB-Hicom then launched a mandatory general offer for the remaining shares it did not own, valuing Proton at RM 3.02 billion. With 98.6 percent now in hand, DRB-Hicom can compulsorily acquire the 1.4 percent still with investors.
Without the public eye of scrutiny, DRB-Hicom will have the flexibility to embark on long-term plans to make Proton a more profitable company, and not worry about short-term results that the stock market players are more concerned about. Approvals from shareholders on any future corporate exercises will no longer be needed once Proton becomes private.
And indeed change is in the air: DRB-Hicom Bhd managing director Datuk Seri Mohd Khamil Jamil was asked in March to assume the leading position as Proton’s executive chairman and executive director, taking over from Proton’s then chairman and director Datuk Seri Mohd Nadzmi Mohd Salleh.
The next question is the future of Lotus, which has been losing money ever since Proton bought the company a few years ago. Will managing director Datuk Seri Mohd Khamil Jamil be happy to continue in a loss-making situation?