Lotus secures �270m for expansion plans

Lotus Cars has secured �270m from a syndicate of Malysian and Chinese banks to fund an aggressive expansion campaign after missing out on investment from the UK government.

The Hethel-based car manufacturer, a subsidiary of Malaysian business Proton Holdings, lost out on �27.5m last week from the government's Regional Growth Fund.

The money had been intended to extend its manufacturing operation in Norfolk, allowing it to release a brand new model every 12 months for five years.

Earlier this year the company claimed the expansion would create 1,000 jobs in Norfolk, but warned that if it failed to secure the cash then the manufacturing facility could be built outside the UK.

Lotus refused to comment on where the new investment would be focused, or whether the company would remain committed to Norfolk, but a statement from Proton said that it would enable it to carry out its plan to release five new models in as many years.

Proton announced that the huge investment would come from a consortium composed of CIMB Bank, Malayan Banking Berhad, Overseas-Chinese Banking Corporation Limited, Export-Import Bank of Malaysia Berhad, Affin Bank Berhad and EON Bank Berhad.

Group Lotus chief executive officer Dany Bahar thanked the banks for their support and confidence in Lotus' future plans at a ceremony held at the Proton Centre of Excellence Complex in Shah Alam.

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'With the help of this external financing, we look forward to introducing our exciting new models to the world which will complement our current product range,' he said.

'I am confident that the execution of our business plan will mark the return of the iconic Lotus brand into the elite ranks of the world's premium sports car manufacturers and generate greater profitability and long-term financial sustainability for the company and its stakeholders.

'I would like to thank our shareholders Proton for the unwavering support and confidence in Lotus.

'I believe Lotus has a lot to offer to PROTON moving forward. As the future plans bear fruit, I am confident that PROTON will benefit in terms of branding, product development, and sales and marketing,' he added.

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