Another European manufacturer has fallen into Chinese hands, as Chinese maker Geely acquires a majority stake in Lotus, following its acquisition of the latter’s parent company, Malaysian automotive group Proton.
The deal has to obtain regulatory approval, but would see Geely obtain 49.9% of Proton shares from its owner, the Malaysian multi-interest corporation DRB-Hicom Berhad. The move will make Geely DRB-Hicom’s exclusive strategic partner, and is expected to receive approval in summer 2017.
The move would see Geely increase its production capacity substantially, as it attempts to gain footholds in global markets. Geely already owns Volvo, as well as the London Taxi Co.
"With Proton and Lotus joining the Geely Group portfolio of brands we strengthen our global footprint and develop a beachhead in South East Asia,” said Daniel Donghui Li, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Geely. ‘Geely Holding is full of confidence for the future of Proton. We will fully respect the brand's history and culture to restore Proton to its former glory with the support of Geely's innovative technology and management resources.
“Reflecting our experience accumulated through Volvo Car's revitalization, we also aim to unleash the full potential of Lotus Cars and bring it into a new phase of development by expanding and accelerating the rolling out of new products and technologies,” he added.
Proton had expressed an interest over the past year of obtaining a foreign investor to aid in expanding its manufacturing capacity and R&D department, and had approached the Volkswagen Group to gauge interest.