SHAH ALAM – Proton Holdings Bhd aims to announce its foreign strategic partner in April, or the latest by end-June, its chief executive officer Datuk Ahmad Fuaad Kenali said.

He said currently there are three final shortlisted potential foreign strategic partners that are doing due diligence process on Proton. But he declined to confirm the names or gave hints on the automotive companies or which region the three are from.

“It is a complex transaction for a complex industry and this will surely takes time. And when they come out with their proposals later on, we still have to do a lot of clarification, evaluation, and perhaps negotiations,” he added.

He said this at a press conference yesterday after Proton received the accreditation as a one-stop centre for the National Dual Training System (SLDN) programme endorsed by the Ministry of Human Resources and the Department of Skills Development for skills training in automotive.

Proton is currently undertaking a request for proposal exercise seeking a partner that can provide a strategic, operational and cultural fit on a permanent basis with the intention to grow its automotive business.

Ahmad Fuaad said Proton expected to receive a complete proposal from the interested parties from February and would make an announcement after the final partner had been selected.

“There could be further negotiations prior to the conclusion, but hopefully a signing can be done before the end of the first half of the year,” he said. He added the deal involved Proton as a group and that was inclusive of Lotus Group, its wholly-owned unit.

Meanwhile, on the SLDN programme, Ahmad Fuaad said the programme was a testament to Proton’s commitment in developing and producing more skilled workers, in line with the Government’s aim to transform the technical and vocational education and training.

“As a national car manufacturer, our duty is not just to build cars but to be one of the key drivers of human capital development,” he added.

— Bernama