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China's Geely buys big stakes in Proton, Lotus for discounted price of $235m

Carmaker is considering assembling Volvos at acquired plant in Malaysia

Li Shufu, left, Geely's chairman, and Syed Faisal Albar, DRB-Hicom's group managing director

KUALA LUMPUR -- Chinese automaker Zhejiang Geely Holding Group agreed on Friday to purchase stakes of 49.9% in Proton Holdings of Malaysia and 51% in Lotus of the U.K., both owned by Malaysian automotive group DRB-Hicom, for a total of $235 million.

The move gives Geely -- China's seventh-largest car maker -- a production base in Malaysia and better access to Southeast Asia's auto market. The investment is also expected to give momentum to turnaround efforts at the loss-making Proton.

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