Proton To Pump In Another £100m To Keep Lotus Afloat
Having pumped in £100 million (RM491 million) in Group Lotus so far this year, Proton Holdings may soon have to pump in another £100 million (RM491 million) to keep the troubled British sportscar maker afloat. “Lotus’ cash flow is very bad right now. Proton is funding the cash flow but I think there is light at the end of the tunnel,” remarked DRB-HICOM managing director Datuk Seri Mohd Khamil Jamil, who is also the chairman of Proton and Lotus. In April 2011, Lotus secured some RM1.3 billion in long-term facilities to help turn it around. The borrowings were to be used as part of a RM2.4 billion ‘five-year five-model’ turnaround plan, which was subsequently aborted by the previous management. Notably, Lotus has already drawn down more than £200 million before the banks stopped the remaining £62.5 million to be disbursed, a move that could push the sportscar maker into technical insolvency.
Significance: According to Mohd Khamil, the immediate aim for the next three years is to keep Lotus in the positive in terms of cost, quality and delivery. He cautioned the spillover, “If Lotus fails, DRB-HICOM will fail. Proton has given the guarantees (for the loan).”
Sime Darby Looking To Build Palm Oil Bulking Facilities In Liberia
Sime Darby, one of the top three largest plantation companies in the world, is looking to build palm oil bulking facilities in Liberia or neighbouring areas in the next one or two years. Citing a source, the Business Times reported that Sime has tasked Felda-Johore Bulkers with constructing a tank farm. “Sime Darby has to prepare the storage facilities now before the oil palm trees start to fruit between the fourth and seventh year. It has to prepare now because the bulking facilites in Liberia are small and not systematic,” noted the source.
Significance: Sime ventured into Liberia two years ago and currently owns some 220,000 hectares in the African nation. This partnership with Felda-Johore Bulkers, which Sime has a 10 percent stake and is an associate of Felda Global Ventures Holdings (FGV), will be the first between Sime and FGV after the latter’s listing.
ICT Companies Secured RM136m Sales In Bangkok
Malaysian information and communications technology (ICT) companies had a bountiful trip during the recent Specialised Marketing Mission on ICT to Bangkok, as they collectively secured sales worth RM136.1 million. Led by the Malaysia External Trade Development Corporation (Matrade), and in collaboration with the Multimedia Development Corporation, the delegation of 30 Malaysian ICT companies took part in the event between 3 and 6 July. According to Matrade, the mission’s programme included business matching sessions with Thai companies as well as roundtable discussions with Software Park Thailand and the Association of Thai ICT Industry.
Significance: Development of the Asean Economic Community (AEC) and its impacts to the ICT industry in the region were some of the key topics during the mission. Participants from both sides see Asean as a new economic growth area and that the AEC will offer great opportunities when it comes into effect in 2015.