Lotus could be changing owner very soon since Bloomberg report that the French PSA group and Zhejiang Geely Holding Group originating from China, have decided to make a bid for a stake in the mother company Proton. Lotus which is one of the emblematic car companies of the United Kingdom has been always the one that can provide a proper sports car and could pick up the sales of any potential new owner.
Lotus has been, since 1996, a part of Proton which is considered the biggest car maker in Malaysia. The owner of Proton is the Malaysian tycoon Syed Mokhtar Al-Bukhtary, who has an estimated net worth of 3 billion dollars. Proton is facing debt problems because sales have decreased in the last year. The selling of a stake to a foreign counterpart is a part of the plan that Proton had to accept to get a 300-million dollar loan the previous year.
According to Bloomberg, a PSA Group spokesman said that the French company still negotiates and looks forward to further talks. Currently, PSA is still negotiating the purchase of the European part of General Motors that includes the German Opel and the British Vauxhall. Both the German and the British government are on alert about the negotiations because there is still no reassurance that there won’t be layoffs.
The second candidate company that is interested in Proton is the Chinese automotive manufacturer Geely Motors. Geely is the owner of Volvo, since 2012 when it purchased it from Ford, and of The London Taxi Company which provides the famous black taxis of the English capital city. The Chinese have set their sights on the distribution network that Proton has established in South East Asia, an area that Geely has not yet conquered. Also, they will gain the right to sell tariff free cars thanks to the ASEAN (Association of South East Nations) community in which Malaysia is a member. Finally, having a share of the iconic Lotus car company adds to the prestige of Geely.
This is not the first time that Lotus will change owners. Before Proton, the owner of Lotus was an Italian businessman named Romano Artioli who was also the owner of the prestigious Buggati Automobili SpA. Artioli had bought Lotus from General Motors in 1993 for the equivalent of 30 million dollars before he went bankrupt in 1996. In total Lotus has changed owners 3 times in the last 20 years