McLaren has put its Woking headquarters up for sale in an attempt to strengthen its balance sheet against the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. One of the world’s most iconic motorsport HQs, the property has been in McLaren's hands since it was built in 2004. However, reports now indicate that the British company has begun marketing a sale-and-leaseback for GBP 200 million (about Rs 1,880 crore).
Sale of McLaren’s Woking office expected to earn about Rs 1,880 crore
The company will lease the property back from the buyer over a period of years
The Woking HQ comprises three buildings – the original McLaren Technology Centre, the newer McLaren Production Centre (primarily used for manufacturing McLaren Automotive road cars), and the McLaren Thought Leadership Centre. All three buildings are part of the proposed sale-and-leaseback.
Should a buyer be found, McLaren will lose ownership of the prestigious property. However, as per the terms of the offer, it would continue to use the Woking site, leasing the property back from the buyer over a period of years.
A McLaren spokesperson told our sister publication Autocar UK that the company is yet to confirm a final price for the property but is expecting offers “in excess of GBP 200 million (about Rs 1,880 crore)”. McLaren expects the HQ to be sold by the end of this financial year.
“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 spokesperson told our Autocar UK.
“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 sale is McLaren’s latest bid to improve its cash flows in response to the coronavirus pandemic, which has severely affected its revenues. In May, it cut 1,200 jobs – more than a quarter of its workforce – across its Applied, Automotive and Racing divisions. It also sought to borrow up to GBP 275 million (around Rs 2,585 crore) against its classic car collection and Woking HQ, securing a GBP 150 million (about Rs 1,410 crore) loan from the National Bank of Bahrain.
“This is undoubtedly a challenging time for our company and particularly our people, but we plan to emerge as an efficient, sustainable business with a clear course for returning to growth,” said McLaren Group executive chairman Paul Walsh.
“McLaren Applied has also already refocused to strategically prioritise proven, high-growth revenue streams.”
McLaren cited the cancellation of motorsport events, the suspension of manufacturing, the shortage of car sales globally and reduced demand for technology solutions, all driven by the COVID-19 crisis, as the cause of its troubles.
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