DRB-Hicom Bhd says the search for a foreign strategic partner (FSP) for Proton Holdings Bhd will be finalised by June. Pix by SHAZREEN ZAMZURI.

KUALA LUMPUR: DRB-Hicom Bhd today said its search for a foreign strategic partner (FSP) for Proton Holdings Bhd will be finalised by June, and not today as widely speculated.

In a statement today, the company said it is focusing on going through the critical process of identifying the ideal FSP for Proton.

“DRB-Hicom hopes that the public will not be misled by various reports that we have already selected a FSP for our wholly-owned carmaker, Proton.

“There have been many reports that have suggested that DRB-HICOM’s search for a FSP will be finalised by today, February 15.

“We wish to reaffirm that as we have stated previously, we will conclude and announce our decision within the first half of this year. We will however endeavour to complete as early as possible,” it said.

DRB-Hicom said it had stated previously that the search for FSP was complex and thus, a time-consuming process.

Upon receipt of the bids, DRB-HICOM said it will start detailed negotiations with the bidders to ensure the key considerations it stated before are met by the potential FSP, which are the strategic, operational and culture fit.

The group will then start the process for internal approvals, including convening a shareholders’ meeting, as well as obtaining the necessary regulatory approvals and clearance that will pave the way for the selected FSP to acquire shares in Proton.

It was reported that Chinese car manufacturer Geely Automobile Holdings Ltd was leading the race to become Proton’s strategic partner, ahead of two other suitors namely PSA Group and Renault SA, both from France.

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