BRITISH supercar manufacturer McLaren is considering mortgaging its Surrey HQ and selling a collection of classic cars in order to protect its financial wellbeing during the Covid-19 coronavirus crisis.
According to a report by Sky News, the British supercar maker and F1 team, along with their financial adviser JP Morgan, are looking to raise between £250m and £275m by borrowing against the value of its 500,000m² base in Woking, as well as selling a car collection including vehicles driven by the late F1 driver Ayrton Senna and company founder Bruce McLaren.
Senna won four consecutive world titles with McLaren F1 between 1988 and 1991. The McLaren MP4/4 raced by Senna and Alain Prost in the 1988 season won 15 of 16 races.
The racing car collection is estimated to be worth £250m, with some models (presumably the ones driven by Senna, Prost and McLaren) worth tens of millions individually. The HQ is also said to be worth £200m.
The pandemic has been a tough time for car manufacturers globally, with new car sales in April falling by a staggering 97.3% compared to the same month last year. McLaren’s F1 team has also been hit heavily. Teams have lost millions in lost revenue, with 10 grands prix either postponed or cancelled. The first race is currently slated to be the Austrian GP at the Red Bull Ring at the beginning of July, though racing is expected be held behind closed doors with no spectators able to gain entry.
McLaren team boss Zak Brown admitted that the sport was in a “very fragile state”, and predicted that as many as four of the smaller teams could be lost from the grid if the crisis wasn’t handled correctly.
Sky News reported last week that the government had rejected a loan request from McLaren. The company had requested a £150m loan from the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) after its sales disappeared nearly overnight. The loan request was rejected on the grounds that McLaren had not yet used all other potential avenues of financing.
Talks are reportedly continuing between McLaren and the government, however.
McLaren employs about 4,000 people, many of whom are furloughed as part of the government’s worker retention scheme, whereby 80% of a furloughed worker’s wage is paid by the taxpayer.
Sources told Sky that the loan would be paid back “at the earliest opportunity”, when sales of cars recover and the F1 team’s revenue returns to normal. In March, the company’s shareholders put £300m of equity into the business.
McLaren has expanded its lineup over the last few years, including its first grand tourer, the McLaren GT, as well as the 804bhp Elva roadster.
McLaren’s F1 team is reportedly preparing to bring in Renault driver Daniel Ricciardo, after confirmation Carlos Sainz will be filling the seat left vacant by Sebastian Vettel at Ferrari.