Malaysia on Saturday expressed optimism about securing a partnership for loss-making carmaker Proton with German auto giant Volkswagen, with high-level talks planned in the coming weeks.
“I can confirm that we have a good feeling about this,” second finance minister Nor Mohamed Yakcop told reporters.
Volkswagen said Friday that it will intensify talks with Malaysian authorities, a major shareholder in Proton, with a view towards a possible cooperation or shareholding in the passenger car maker.
Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi recently said that Volkswagen was studying Proton for a possible strategic pact that would help save Malaysia's national carmaker.
For Proton, a deal is expected to boost its efforts to reclaim the top spot in Malaysia's domestic car market as well as help it get a foothold in the lucrative European market.
Volkswagen hopes to strengthen its presence in the Southeast Asian region through the partnership.
Nor Mohamed said previous talks had progressed well.
“The talks are going well. It is good news,” he said.
Proton and Volkswagen had met for a third time in Germany, after talks in Thailand and the United States.
Malaysia hopes that the deal would be wrapped up by the end of the year.
Proton needs foreign technical expertise to halt a sharp decline in market share and stem a stream of red ink, including a 46.75 million ringgit (13.40 million dollar) loss for the first quarter to June announced this week.
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