Mitsubishi Motors Corp. plans to sell its equity stake in Malaysia’s state-owned carmaker Perusahaan Otomobil Nasional Bhd. (Proton) as part of global restructuring efforts to reinforce its financial base, company officials said Monday.
Proton “will no longer be a strategic partner” for MMC, an official said.
The Asian Wall Street Journal reported Monday that MMC and trading house Mitsubishi Corp. are considering selling their combined 15.86 percent stake in Proton.
The paper said the sale is “part of Mitsubishi’s global restructuring efforts to financially consolidate its beleaguered Japanese auto company.”
MMC and Mitsubishi have been shareholders in Proton, which was created in a project led by former Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, since 1983.
Khazanah Nasional Bhd., which is the investment arm of the Malaysian government and holds a 31.6 percent controlling stake in Proton, confirmed Friday the Mitsubishi group had made it an offer but said no decision had been made, according to the report.
If Khazanah were to buy Mitsubishi’s 15.86 percent stake in Proton at the automaker’s Friday closing stock price in Kuala Lumpur, the transaction would be worth 806 million ringgit ($212.1 million), it said.
Daimler to the rescue
Mitsubishi Motors Corp. said Monday that its parent, DaimlerChrysler AG, will dispatch officials to Japan this week to compile a new management plan for MMC.
MMC recently revised downward its earnings forecast for the current year through March 31. It has denied media reports that DaimlerChrysler might pull out of MMC.
“There is no truth to the rumors,” MMC said in a statement. “DaimlerChrysler is fully supporting MMC.”