McLaren has been hit particularly hard by the slowdown effects of the ongoing Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic, and has resorted to selling its famous McLaren Technology Center located in Woking, United Kingdom, as it looks to recover.
The site includes McLaren's headquarters, car plant and wind tunnel, but the automaker and race team isn't about to abandon it just yet. Instead, it plans to sell the site and lease it back, a common strategy for freeing up cash.
Zak Brown, the CEO of the McLaren Formula One team, made the announcement on Saturday during a media call, according to Reuters.
“Why have all this money tied up in real estate? We’re not a real estate company, we’re a racing team and an automotive company,” he said. “We’ve got a lot of cash tied up in that building and that’s not a very productive use of funds when you’re looking to invest in your business.”
McLaren's headquarters in Woking, United Kingdom
McLaren is thought to be seeking offers of over 200 million British pounds (approximately $257,325 million) for the site, which spans over 120 acres.
Prior to the onset of the pandemic, McLaren had amassed significant loans to expand its business as well as buy out former shareholder Ron Dennis. Dennis' shares alone cost McLaren $343 million.
When the pandemic hit, the loss of revenues meant McLaren struggled to pay creditors. Shareholders injected an additional 300 million British pounds of equity in March, and 25% of staff were cut in May. McLaren then received a rescue loan of 150 million British pounds in June from majority owner Bahrain.
The good news is that McLaren looks to be on the rebound. The F1 team is currently third in the Constructors' Championship and the automotive side is close to introducing a new generation of hybrid cars, starting with a new member in the Sports Series range.