Saturday 31 August 2019 4:46 pm

Williams Formula One team owner considering sale of engineering arm

The owner of the Williams Formula One team, Williams Grand Prix Holdings, is exploring the possibility of selling its engineering arm.

The company has been approached by several parties looking to acquire Williams Advanced Engineering (WAE) and a sale could raise tens of millions of pounds for the racing team, according to Sky News.

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It would be a significant moment in the British-based team’s history, which was founded by Sir Frank Williams and Sir Patrick Head in 1977.

There are a number of private equity firms interested in the business, which was set up in 2011 to commercialise the F1 team’s development of technology.

Williams, whose daughter Claire is the team’s deputy team principal, still owns a big share of the company and is said to be open to the sale of a majority stake in WAE, although the sale of a minority share to a third party is more likely, Sky News claim.

The engineering division works with clients such as Tesco and Unilever and also has a joint venture with Unipart to produce performance batteries for automative applications.

WAE, which has customers including Aston Martin and Lotus, received a Queen’s Award for Enterprise Innovation last year.

Its revenue for 2018 was £44.8m, up from £39.5m the year before, while earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation were £5.1m.

The racing team’s commercial revenue meanwhile has been hit by the team’s poor on-track performances in the last decade, with Williams languishing in last place in the Formula One constructors’ championship.

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Going into the Belgian Grand Prix this weekend the team had just one point and both the drivers will start from the back of the field again in Sunday’s race.

Williams Grand Prix Holdings, which is listed on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange, had a market valuation of €134.5m (£120m) at the close of Friday.