KUALA LUMPUR, May 24 (Xinhua) -- China's Zhejiang Geely Holding Group has agreed to buy a 49.9 percent stake in Malaysia's national carmaker Proton, the two sides announced at a press conference on Wednesday.
Geely also agreed to buy a majority share of 51 percent in Lotus, a former British sports car brand which was acquired by Proton in 1996.
The price of the stake sales was not disclosed, and the two sides expected to reach a definitive deal before the end of July.
Proton, which was founded in 1983 by former Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, has been under-performing in recent years and relied heavily on government loans to continue its operation.
Geely, headquartered in east China's Zhejiang Province, rose to stardom in 2010 when it bought Volvo Cars from Ford. Since then, it has successfully revived the struggling brand.
In 2016, Geely sold 1.3 million cars globally, including around 766,000 in the Geely brand and around 530,000 Volvo cars.
With Proton and Lotus joining the Geely Group portfolio of brands, Geely will strengthen its global footprint and develop a beachhead in Southeast Asia, said Li Donghui, executive vice president and CFO of Geely.
"Geely is full of confidence for the future of Proton," he said, adding they also aims to unleash the full potential of Lotus cars thanks to experience accumulated through Volvo's revitalization.