Belfast Telegraph

Friday 22 August 2014

Williams F1 gets into gear for stock market move

Williams F1 unveiled details of its drive for a stock market listing in a move that could value the company at up to £243m.

The company, whose AT-amp;T Williams team finished sixth in the Formula One constructors' championships last year, plans to sell 27% of its shares on the Frankfurt stock exchange.

The move is not designed to raise money for the team, which has not won a Formula One race since 2004, as the shares being sold mainly belong to co-founder Patrick Head. Williams revealed that the shares will be priced between €24 and €29 per share, valuing the company at between €236.6m (£201m) and €285.9m (£243m).

Adam Parr, chairman of the Oxfordshire-based company, said that the move will allow Mr Head and its other major shareholder and co-founder Sir Frank Williams to plan their eventual retirement and will provide stability for the business.

He said: "Great businesses need to be well run, sustainable and have good governance and a listing represents all those things.

"We have two dominant shareholders who are in their mid to late 60s, both in very fine condition but both looking to exit the business at some point. The flotation creates liquidity for them and, more importantly, for the team it creates stability - we don't end up being owned by a Russian oligarch or a car company who might one day pull the pin."

He said Williams had chosen the Frankfurt stockmarket because its requirements for corporate governance "works for us because we have some strict confidentiality rules".

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