DRB-Hicom looking for a Chinese buyer for Lotus

Article by Christian A., on April 26, 2012

South Norfolk MP Richard Bacon revealed that DRB-Hicom, the new owner of Group Lotus, is looking for a Chinese entity to buy the struggling engineering group and sports car maker. Lotus’s headquarters in Hethel, which is found about 10 miles south of Norwich, is covered by Bacon’s constituency.

He said that global business consultancy KPMG has been asked to serve as a “corporate salesman” to find Lotus’ new owner. Bacon was present during an hour-long parliamentary debate on Lotus’s fate earlier this week. However, he said that the decision about the sale was announced right before the debate.

Those who came to the debate include the MPs from nearby constituencies while the government was represented by Mark Prisk, minister of state for business, innovation and skills.

Bacon said that the purpose of the debate was to emphasize the value to the Norfolk region of Lotus’s special technical skills and innovation culture. It also seeks to signify the concern towards Lotus’s 1200 Hethel-based jobs, which are placed at risk when the company gets a new owner. Bacon asserted that the employment contract of Lotus CEO Dany Bahar includes a financial incentive to find a buyer.

He also clarified that during a recent meeting between British Prime Minister David Cameron and Proton boss Dato’ Sri Syed Zainal, the focus of the chat was on the importance of the jobs to stay in Norfolk. A few hours after the meeting, Zainal went to China to search for a new owner for Group Lotus.

The minister, Mark Prisk, said that the government sees the need to “keep talking at all levels on this important issue.” He also emphasized that a grant of about £10 million to help Lotus with its expansion plans had been placed “on hold” since the DRB-Hicom acquisition. This will not proceed until the situation becomes clear. [source: Autocar]

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