Proton X50 to accelerate carmaker’s revival, says CGS-CIMB

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KUALA LUMPUR (Oct 28): CGS-CIMB Research has maintained its "add" call for DRB-Hicom Bhd with a target price (TP) of RM2.35 as it foresees Proton X50 accelerating the group's 51%-owned Proton Holdings Bhd's turnaround plan.

The research house’s analyst Mohd Shanaz Noor Azam said in a note yesterday that he expects the X50 to be a new growth driver of the national automaker given that it offers exposure to new markets.

He also expects the X50 to jump-start Proton’s export growth strategy, given that the group plans to export it to the Thai market.

Proton launched the new sport utility vehicle (SUV) through its social media channels yesterday. Pricing starts from RM79,200 for the Standard variant and up to RM103,300 for the 1.5 TGDi Flagship variant.

“We think the pricing is broadly in line with our expectations. Although the Flagship model’s price is slightly above our RM100,000 estimate, it still offers a 10%, or RM12,000, discount to the Honda HR-V model, which is the market leader in B-segment SUVs,” said Mohd Shanaz.

The analyst gathered that Proton had received over 23,000 pre-launch bookings since Sept 20, 70% of which were for the Flagship and Premium variants.

He said channel checks indicated that Proton’s production was not affected by recent new Covid-19 cases reported from its engineering division in Shah Alam.

He added that Proton is in the midst of ramping up production, and currently producing around 4,000 and 3,000 units of the X50 and X70 respectively per month in Tanjung Malim.

At the time of writing today, DRB-Hicom was two sen or 1.03% higher at RM1.97, valuing the company at RM3.77 billion.

Surin Murugiah