Fortescue to buy Williams Advanced Engineering for £164m
Motor racing - 24 Jan 2022
Fortescue Metals Group, the Australian iron ore giant, has entered into an agreement to buy Williams Advanced Engineering (WAE), the advanced technology and engineering arm of the Williams Racing team, of the prestigious Formula 1 motor racing series.
The deal is worth £164 million ($221 million) and will see WAE acquired from private equity firm EMK Capital and Williams Grand Prix Engineering.
Fortescue is interested in WAE’s battery technology, which has been partly developed on the track with Williams, and plans to use it to help achieve its goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2030.
The company says it will use the acquisition “to demonstrate to the world that the decarbonization of heavy industry is possible and then deliver that technology to the significant global market,” noting that the heavy industrial sector accounts for more than 20% of global carbon emissions.
Following the deal, WAE will work with the group’s Fortescue Future Industries (FFI) subsidiary to develop a “world-leading battery-electric train concept” among their initial joint projects.
In addition, the two will work together on other green energy projects for Fortescue’s 3km-long freight trains, 400-tonne haul trucks, and industrial heavy mobile equipment.
Andrew Forrest, founder and chairman of Fortescue said: “Together FFI and WAE will work to decarbonize Fortescue - with the aim of achieving that faster and more effectively than anyone else in the world …
“This announcement is the key to unlocking the formula for removing fossil-fuel-powered machinery and replacing it with zero carbon emission technology, powered by FFI green electricity, green hydrogen, and green ammonia.”
Julie Shuttleworth chief executive at Fortescue, added: “The acquisition of WAE adds cutting edge technology, intellectual property, and engineering capabilities to support and accelerate FFI’s Green Fleet technology pathway. Under Fortescue’s ownership, WAE will continue to service its customers while rapidly expanding its battery and electrification technologies, engineering and manufacturing offerings”.
“Rapid growth of WAE’s world-leading technology and engineering business and an expansion of its manufacturing footprint further enhances FFI’s position to become a major player in the global market for decarbonization of the global heavy industry sector.”
“Joining the Fortescue family will also allow WAE to invest in new technologies and to further commercialize world-leading electrification products in new markets. It is also an opportunity to continue to grow the Williams’ family vision of creating cutting edge technology operating at the forefront of innovation in engineering and business”.
Craig Wilson, chief executive of WAE, commented: “High-performance battery and electrification systems are at the core of what we do at WAE, and this acquisition and investment will enable the company’s further growth to support the delivery of zero-emission products and services across existing sectors - such as automotive, motorsport and off-highway - and new sectors too …
“We are delighted to play a key role in Fortescue’s decarbonization strategy, contributing to the delivery of their emissions reduction targets through high-performance battery systems, green hydrogen, and related technologies. We will also be focusing on addressing the sector-wide challenges in the off-highway sector. Both companies have a shared culture of innovation, setting and achieving challenging objectives and a genuine commitment to creating a sustainable future.”