Group Lotus boss Dany Bahar says moving the company out of Norfolk makes no sense

Group Lotus boss Dany Bahar has signalled his support for keeping the car maker in Norfolk, stating it would make no sense for its Malaysian owners to look for a deal which could see production shipped overseas.

The last week has seen mounting speculation that new Malaysian owners DRB-Hicom, which bought the car maker's parent company Proton in January, are in the process of seeking a Chinese buyer for the firm.

But in a wide-ranging interview with the EDP the chief executive moved to scotch rumours that DRB was planning a 'firesale' of the company and its assets, though he conceded that some kind of sale could yet be on the cards.

Ultimately a final decision about any sale and staying in Norfolk rests with DRB, however, Mr Bahar said given the scale of the �100m investment already in place at Hethel there was an overwhelming economic case for either DRB-Hicom or any new owner to 'keep everything here' in Norfolk.

'Moving a factory or shutting down a factory just for 5,000 cars and setting up somewhere else doesn't economically make sense,' Mr Bahar said. 'I think there is no big risk - that's my personal opinion, and I cannot rule it out, but I think it just doesn't make sense to do that.

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'We would always encourage whoever comes into this business or even the current shareholders to simply keep everything here, because the workforce is here, the brain is here, the history is here all the investments have gone into the facilities upgrade. It just doesn't make sense to move it. Honestly.'

And he confirmed that production at the car maker, which because of Malaysian takeover rules on funding, had ground to a near halt following the takeover, is set to get back to normal now that the due diligence process has been completed.

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To read the interview in full see today's EDP.

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