Malaysia says no bailout for carmaker Proton


PUTRAJAYA, Malaysia, May 22 (Reuters) - The Malaysian government will not bail out ailing state-controlled carmaker Proton Holdings, and is still seeking a strategic partner for it, Second Finance Minister Nor Mohamed Yakcop said on Tuesday.

Nor Mohamed declined to say to whom the government was talking about a possible tie-up with Proton , but added that there was no new deadline to complete talks.

"Proton needs some restructuring in terms of equity, technical partner etc. We think we need a partner. At this point of time, we think that it is advisable to have a partner," he told reporters in the administrative capital of Putrajaya.

"We need a little bit more time. We will resolve it, but I think it's good to resolve the issue in a comprehensive, holistic way," he said.

Asked to comment on a news report that Proton may need a government bailout if talks to find a partner continue to falter, Nor Mohamed said, "There will not be a bailout of Proton. The issue doesn't arise."

The government had said early this year it was talking to several car makers, including Germany's Volkswagen and U.S. giant General Motors Corp. , about a possible partnership with Proton, but it missed an end-March deadline to announce a deal.

Loss-making Proton, which faces a shrinking market share in the increasingly competitive domestic market, is looking to tie up with a global car-maker to boost its sales and turn the company around.

Proton shares ended down 4.7 percent at 5.05 ringgit on Tuesday, compared with a 1.5 percent gain in the broader market .



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