Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 18 September 2020

CORONAVIRUS

McLaren puts £200m iconic UK base up for sale as it looks for investors

Racing giant is seeking the sale and leaseback of the global McLaren Campus in Woking, Surrey

Supercar maker and F1 giant McLaren Group is putting its global £200m UK headquarters up for sale.

In a bid to stave off financial woes caused by the coronavirus pandemic, it is proposing the sale and leaseback of its iconic McLaren Campus.

Property agents Colliers told The National it will be looking to the UAE among other sources for investors.

“It is seeking global investors for the campus,” a spokesperson said.

“The UAE is absolutely one of the places it is looking at as well as other overseas investors.”

The move is part of a restructuring by the group to make it more financially stable, McLaren told The National.

The McLaren Campus is the home of luxury British supercar maker McLaren Automotive, Formula 1, IndyCar team McLaren Racing and technology business McLaren Applied.

It comprises the McLaren Technology Centre, McLaren Production Centre – where the brand’s supercars are hand-built - and the McLaren Thought Leadership Centres.

The buildings are set in 84 acres of landscaped grounds on the fringes of Horsell Common in Woking, Surrey.

The factory's famous Boulevard faces out across the site's main artificial lake and houses cars driven by famous names, including Senna, Prost, Hakkinen, Raikkonen and Hamilton.

“The potential sale and leaseback of our global headquarters and the appointment of banks to advise us on a debt restructuring and equity raise are part of the comprehensive refinancing strategy that we announced earlier this year,” a McLaren Group spokesperson told The National.

“Building on the shorter-term measures that we put in place over the summer, these initiatives will deliver a stronger balance sheet and ensure that McLaren Group has a sustainable platform for long-term growth and investment.

“The proposed sale and leaseback mirrors best practice among leading companies and will have no impact on our day-to-day operations. The McLaren Campus is an iconic, world-class facility that will remain our home in the future.”

Earlier this year it had been rumoured that McLaren was considering mortgaging its priceless collection of historic cars which are on display at the Campus.

It has suffered financial losses due to the pandemic affecting sales of its cars and the revenue it expected to gain from its Formula 1 team.

During the pandemic its technicians have helped to develop breathing aids for coronavirus patients.

Robert Campkin, Head of Corporate Capital Solutions for Colliers, told The National this was a “rare opportunity” for investors.

“The proposed sale and leaseback of the McLaren Campus offers a unique opportunity to acquire an award-winning, state-of-the-art, globally renowned and iconic headquarters site, which is let to the McLaren Group,” he said.

“This is a rare opportunity to acquire a high-profile asset in a core M25 location with long-term occupancy of 20 years. Such an iconic campus will undoubtedly be an attractive opportunity for global investors right now.”

When McLaren first bought the 50 hectares of barren land 50km from London it was nothing more than exhausted soil from decades of intensive farming.

It set about creating a purpose-built green ecological and sustainable complex, which in 2010 earned Carbon Trust Standard certification.

The steel cladding, both internal and external, is fully recyclable and its gigantic glass façade ensures it uses sunlight over unnatural light sources.

It has a self-cleaning roof that also uses a high-pressure syphonic drainage system to collect rainwater which is then used to refill the lake.

The lake assists the building’s cooling system by regulating the temperature and decreasing the need for cooling towers.

In 2011 McLaren Racing was announced as the first ever carbon neutral team in Formula 1.

The firm has also planted more than 100,000 trees at the site and created a wildlife sanctuary for otters and kingfishers.

Updated: September 10, 2020 07:38 PM

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