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http://europe.autonews.com/news.cms?newsId=3125
KUALA LUMPUR -- Malaysia's national carmaker Proton said on Tuesday it bought a 4.34 percent stake in Britains' Lotus Group International for 3.66 million pounds ($5.7 million), making the British firm its wholly owned subsidiary.

Perusahaan Otomobil Nasional Bhd (Proton) said in a statement the cash deal would be financed from internal funds.

"The acquisition is in line with the company's strategy to continuously increase engineering capabilities within the group of companies," Proton said.

"The complete acquistion of Lotus will firmly position the Proton group as a premier engineering consultancy firm and better address the challenging and competitive environment ahead."

State-controlled Proton commands a 60 percent share of the domestic passenger car market, helped by import tariffs of as much as 300 percent on rival foreign makes.

The government is facing increasing pressure to lower duties and liberalise the local auto sector by 2005.
 
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