The Star 1.06.2007:
PETALING JAYA: Proton Holdings Bhd failed to meet its key performance indicators (KPIs) for the fiscal year ended March 31 (FY07) as revenue dropped 37% to RM4.9bil from RM7.8bil in FY06.
It posted a whopping net loss of RM591.4mil against a profit of RM46.7mil previously. Loss per share stood at 107.7 sen compared with earnings per share of 8.4 sen in FY06.
Proton has almost depleted its cash reserves of RM3 billion after the new management took over since end of 2005.
When the new management took over, I was sceptical. I thought the government made a wrong move by appointing new people into executive positions at proton when the previous management did not do too badly, having accumulated cash reserves of more than RM 3 billion.
At the back of my mind, I had an inkling that the Proton's financial results that were to come thereafter would show it to be in a worse rather than better condition but of course I couldn't say for sure. The reasons for the shake up at Proton previously was not that of mismanagement, but it seemed more of a political appointment in order to get rid of a certain individual who had a mind of his own, who would stand up and speak out, whatever the costs.
After the old CEO was dropped out, the sale of Augusta too effect at a sobering Euro 1 although the motorbike itself was chosen to be the best motorbike in the world for that particular year. The reason given was to streamline operation and concentrate on its core business as well as cut losses. Proton wanted to go into collaboration with other car makers, one after another, with deadlines extended but without much success, until now. It then expressed desire to pay off RM150,000 for each vendor that was to close shop as compensation (I didn't know it was so lucrative to close a non-viable business until Proton showed that it can be so).
I had a feeling that Proton was to be in worse hands after the management shook out. Not because its CEO seemed overconfident or even sounding arrogant.
And today, I was proven right. It is about time that the government acknowledges its mistakes and right its wrong.