Malaysia seals deal to make Proton Sagas in Philippines

MALAYSIA and the Philippines yesterday sealed their agreement to assemble Proton Sagas in the Philippines in a deal described as a breakthrough for Malaysia.

In a ceremony marking the occasion, President Fidel Ramos presented a “key” to Proton’s managing director, Datuk Mohammad Nadzmi Salleh, at the Shangri-La Hotel.

Malaysian Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Mahathir Mohamad witnessed the presentation.

The deal involves joint ventures between Malaysian and Filipino companies to assemble left-hand drive Proton cars and manufacture their components in the Philippines.

One firm, which will mainly assemble the cars, will be called Proton Philippines Inc.

It will be 70 per cent owned by Malaysia’s Perusahan Otomobil Nasional Bhd and 30 per cent by Philippines’ Autocorp.

The other one, which has yet to be named, will be 30 per cent owned by the Malaysian firm and 70 per cent by its Filipino partner.

It will handle the car’s marketing and distribution.

Earlier at a press conference, Dr Mahathir told reporters that this was a breakthrough for Malaysia as the Philippines is the only country in Asean with left-hand drive cars.

He said that he expected 3,000 to 4,000 left-hand drive cars to be assembled in the Philippines.

Proton, which has 73 per cent of the passenger-car market in Malaysia, also exports to Singapore, Indonesia and several European countries.

Deal made with steel firm

In another deal, in a separate ceremony, Wing Teik Holdings Berhad (WTHB) acquired a 55 per cent stake in the recently privatised Philippine National Steel Corporation (NSC), making it the largest Malaysian investor in the Philippines.

he Memorandum of Agreement between the two parties allows WTHB – a member of the Westmont Holdings Group – to purchase shares from the NSC amounting to M$1.25 billion (S$725 million).

NSC is the largest manufacturer and supplier of flat steel in the Philippine market.

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