Belfast Telegraph

Lotus given 10-week reprieve as Renault takeover looms

By Jan Colley

Lotus has won more breathing space in insolvency proceedings brought against it by the taxman.

Mr Justice Birss at London's High Court granted a 10-week adjournment yesterday after hearing a loan agreement had been finalised which meant that HM Revenue & Customs would receive £2.7m this week.

HMRC had applied to put the Oxfordshire-based Formula One team into administration over unpaid bills relating to PAYE (income tax and national insurance).

The judge granted Lotus's application for the adjournment, which was backed by Renault Sport, on the basis that the important thing was to "facilitate" the ongoing success of the business.

He said: "The best chance of doing that is for this business to be rescued by Renault."

The court hearing came against the background of an announcement by Renault of its intention to take over the Lotus team.

A statement from Renault read: "Renault Group and Gravity Motorsports S.a.r.l., an affiliate of Genii Capital SA, are pleased to announce the signature of a letter of intent regarding the potential acquisition by Renault of a controlling stake in Lotus F1 Team Ltd.

"The signature of this letter of intent marks Renault's first step towards the project of a Renault Formula 1 team from the 2016 racing season, thereby extending 38 years of commitment of the brand to world's premier motorsport championship series."

The French car manufacturer added: "Renault Group and Gravity will work together in the coming weeks to eventually turn this initial undertaking into a definitive transaction, provided all terms and conditions are met between them and other interested parties."

The next hearing at the High Court is due on December 7.

Belfast Telegraph