Williams sells hybrid power subdivision

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Williams Grand Prix Holdings has announced the sale of Williams Hybrid Power Limited from Williams' subsidiary, Williams Grand Prix Engineering Limited, to GKN Land Systems Limited in a multi-million pound transaction. This will see Williams Hybrid Power rebranded as GKN Hybrid Power.

GKN has agreed to purchase the whole of the issued share capital of Williams Hybrid Power Limited from Williams Grand Prix Engineering Limited. Under the terms of the transaction, Williams Grand Prix Engineering Limited will also receive additional consideration based on future sales and licences of the flywheel energy storage technology transferred with Williams Hybrid Power to GKN. Global financial advisory firm Lazard acted as advisor to Williams Grand Prix Holdings PLC in relation to the transaction.

Williams Hybrid Power has been majority owned by Williams Grand Prix Engineering Limited since 2010, and is a clean technology SME developing electric flywheel energy storage technology. The company was initially engaged in developing this technology for Williams' 2009 Formula One car, but has since focused its attention on developing systems for the mass transit and automotive sectors. Successes to date include supplying the flywheel energy storage system for the Le Mans winning Audi R18 e-tron quattro, a partnership with Go-Ahead Group to develop a system for urban buses, and a partnership with Alstom to develop flywheel technology for tramway applications. The technology offers fuel savings and emissions reductions of up to 30% by harvesting the energy that is normally lost as heat when braking and turning it into additional power.

Speaking about the agreement with GKN Mike O'Driscoll, Group CEO of Williams, said; "The Williams Hybrid Power business has been developed very successfully over the last few years, and is now at the point of broader market commercialisation. GKN have the resources and expertise to fully realise the enormous potential of the motorsport proven flywheel technology, primarily within a variety of public transport applications.

"Williams Advanced Engineering continues to focus on delivering energy efficient solutions through incubating and developing new technologies that primarily originate within our Formula One operations, to a broad range of industry sectors including automotive, aerospace, and energy."

Speaking about the acquisition of Williams Hybrid Power, Philip Swash, Chief Executive of GKN Land Systems said: "This acquisition is a great opportunity for GKN to take a unique technology to global markets, helping solve the emissions and efficiency challenges faced by mass transit companies around the world. It also provides GKN with a unique set of engineering skills that we believe will help bring new innovation and performance to our wider product portfolio."

The consideration payable for the acquisition comprises cash consideration of £8.0m payable at closing, together with potential uncapped additional consideration payable based upon future sales of WHP products in the following 10 years. That additional consideration will be calculated at 3.5% of sales in each of the first five years, declining on a stepped basis to 1.5% by the end of the 10 year period, and shall only be payable to the extent that it cumulatively exceeds £4.0m. The acquisition will be funded from GKN’s existing resources.

For the financial year ended 31 December 2013, WHP made a loss after taxation of £1.0 million and had gross assets of £3.2 million.


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