By annabelle dickson
Sunday, October 14, 2012
The new owners of Norfolk car maker Lotus hope to find out if they will clinch the backing of Malaysian banks by the end of the year to move forward their future plans.
New documents have laid bare the dramatic turn of events in January which saw the company’s banks freeze the remaining £47m of a £270m loan facility after conditions were breached.
It came after the Hethel-based business was bought by Malaysian conglomerate DRB Hicom.
In the latest Group Lotus plc accounts, which represent a small administrative part of the company, director Lukman bin Ibrahim admitted the management of Lotus was currently in discussions with its banks to waive the current terms.
He said in the accounts, which represent the year end in March 2012, that if the waiver was not obtained, Lotus would continue to be in breach and outstanding loan amounts would continue to be classified as current liabilities and the lenders would have the right to demand early repayment from Proton. Lotus declined to comment on the current stage of discussions since the directors report was filed, but continue to insist DRB is committed to Lotus.
In a recent interview with the Malaysian press, DRB-Hicom managing director Khamil Jamil said DRB-Hicom had completed the operational review of the British sports car maker, and the conglomerate had laid out an immediate plan for Lotus.
He said: “It will be far different from the plans that Lotus had before. The new plan will ensure Lotus will sustain for the next three years.
“We have to now present the plans to the bankers. We are hoping to finalise negotiations with the bankers by the end of this year.”
Tucked away on Pottergate is one of Norwich’s best kept secrets, but it might not stay that way for long.