Proton confirms it isn't selling Lotus...for now
Following the announcement that Dany Bahar has been suspended from his position as CEO of Lotus pending an investigation into irregularities, Proton has announced that the Norfolk car company will not be sold...for the time being.
Lotus is owned by Malaysian company Proton, which is owned by Malaysian corporation DRB-Hicom, so ultimately the power to sell lies with the latter.
However, it's Proton that's released the latest statement, aimed at dampening rumours that Lotus is about to be flogged off.
"We acknowledge that Lotus can provide value to Proton. Lotus is an iconic brand with global presence and positioning, coupled with unsurpassed engineering expertise and a talented workforce," says Proton chief exec Dato' Sri Haji Mohd Khamil Jamil in the statement.
To bolster the claim, the statement references a meeting that Jamil had recently with Business Secretary Vince Cable and local MP Richard Bacon, who were "both very supportive of our views and developments with regard to the future plans for Lotus."
The statement claims that the British Government is considering unlocking the £10m grant it previously promised Lotus to support its development plans, but withheld.
Clearly, however, DRB-Hicom is hedging its bets: "Both Proton and DRB-Hicom will continue to review the existing business plans and financial position of Lotus in taking Lotus forward in the immediate- to medium-term," said the statement.
"DRB-Hicom has sent in a team comprising local and international consultants to Lotus from March 2012 to conduct an operations and legal audit on Lotus group of companies," it continued.
Proton is currently servicing a £270m loan that Lotus took out at the end of 2010, the weight of which appears to have been the driving force behind the financial audit being carried out now.
Keep watching this particular saga - it's far from over.