Tuesday May 27, 2008
Proton Q4 profit at RM236mil
By JAGDEV SINGH SIDHU
SHAH ALAM: Proton Holdings Bhd reported yesterday a big turnaround in its fourth-quarter profitability and revealed ambitious plans of selling one million cars a year by 2016.
The national carmaker posted a net profit of RM236.4mil for its fourth quarter ended March 31, as higher sales of its core models, operational improvements and a research and development (R&D) grant from the Government under the National Automotive Policy led to the company chalking up a full-year net profit of RM202.9mil, or 36.9 sen a share, compared with a loss of RM589.5mil, or 107.3 sen a share, previously.
Full-year revenue came in at RM5.6bil compared with RM4.9bil previously. Its pre-tax profit improved to RM162.2mil from a loss of RM618.1mil a year earlier.
For the fourth quarter, Proton booked into its income statement RM32mil from the sale of intellectual property to China's Jinhua Youngman Automobile Manufacturing Co Ltd and a RM194mil R&D grant from the Government.
Proton spent RM500mil in R&D in the year just ended and expects to spend RM600mil in the current year.
At a media briefing yesterday, Proton unveiled its global strategy of boosting sales in both domestic and export markets.
“We are excited about our future direction and plans, now that we have laid the foundation for future growth,'' chairman Datuk Mohammed Azlan Hashim said.
The plan, which is up to the 2016 financial year, will see Proton focus its efforts in the high growth markets of South-East Asia, China, India and the Middle East and North Africa.
Managing director Datuk Syed Zainal Abidin Syed Mohamed Tahir said the company might also maximise localisation to reduce costs and would look at having multiple production hubs.
He said the plan would also see Proton cut down on the number of platforms and models to two platforms and three to five core models by financial year 2010/11. The three models are Persona, Saga and an MPV slated for launch next year.
“For small volume models, it will be done on a collaboration basis,'' he added.
Proton aims to double sales by 2010. It expects the three core models to drive that in both the domestic and export markets, with variants of the Persona and Saga also spurring sales.
It sees big improvements in the export market as Proton shipped only 17,300 units abroad in the last financial year.
Proton said public response to its Persona and Saga had been good since their launch. The Persona has garnered 41,000 bookings since its launch while the new Saga has registered a massive 55,000 bookings since its debut in January.
They have helped raise Proton's market share in the country to 31% as at end-March as it sold 40,903 cars in the fourth quarter compared with 36,654 in the third quarter.
Syed Zainal said there were no plans to increase production of the Persona beyond the 4,500 units monthly as it matched demand. However, he said the production of the Saga, currently at 6,200 units a month, had to be increased to 8,000 units to shorten the long waiting list.
On the rationalisation of dealers and vendors, Syed Zainal said Proton had made good ground on both counts although there was room for improvement.