McLaren is wholly owned by Mumtalakat!

According to foreign media reports, British supercar manufacturer McLaren has been wholly owned by the Bahrain Sovereign Wealth Fund holding company (Mumtalakat Holding Company), and the shareholding ratio has been increased from the original 60% to 100%. However, as of the time of publication, the official has not announced any details of the capital injection.
McLaren is a British supercar manufacturer whose business is divided into supercar manufacturing and racing. It was originally founded by champion driver Bruce McLaren in 1960 and was called McLaren Cars Limited. In 2010, it was independently separated, and the English name of McLaren Automotive was changed from McLaren Cars to McLaren Automotive, and it independently became McLaren Automotive.
As for the Bahrain Sovereign Wealth Fund Holding Company, it is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Bahraini government, mainly investing in non-oil areas such as finance, industry, real estate, and tourism. The official name of the Bahrain Sovereign Wealth Fund is Mumtalakat Holding Company, which has held shares in McLaren since 2007 and injected millions of dollars in cash into the company during the COVID-19 pandemic to sustain its operations.

In December 2023, the McLaren Group issued a statement stating that shareholders unanimously approved a comprehensive capital restructuring of the group, which will introduce a simplified equity structure and governance process, “which is an important step for the group to continue to build the world’s leading supercars, provide top-notch customer experiences, and expand into new markets and customer groups.” During this period, it was reported that McLaren’s major shareholder, the Bahraini sovereign wealth fund – Mumtalakat Holding Co. – was about to reach an agreement on the full acquisition of McLaren.

In February of this year, market news stated that McLaren’s controlling shareholder, Mumtalakat Holding Co., was seeking to introduce additional investors who could provide funds and technical expertise, including potential investors such as Chinese automakers, in the hope of providing funds for McLaren’s further growth. However, at that time, representatives of McLaren and Mumtalakat declined to comment on the above information.

This increase in the shareholding ratio may mean that Mumtalakat Holding Company will provide more financial support to McLaren. In fact, as early as the outbreak of COVID-19 in 2020, McLaren was in a difficult situation due to a shortage of funds. According to reports, McLaren had applied to the British government for a £150 million loan, but it was not approved. To ease the financial crisis, in May 2020, McLaren announced that it would lay off 1,200 people out of 4,000, involving the Formula One team, road production cars, and applied technology businesses. At the same time, McLaren also planned to sell the headquarters building worth £200 million. Fortunately, it later obtained a £150 million loan from a Bahraini bank, and the headquarters building was able to temporarily get through the difficult time. However, this amount of money is just a drop in the bucket for McLaren. The following year, McLaren once again fell into financial difficulties, and eventually sold it to the American company GlobalNetLease for £170 million, and then continued to use it in the form of leaseback.

In addition, McLaren’s Artura supercar under its umbrella was also forced to stop production due to a shortage of chips, and then due to technological upgrades, but a lack of funds to complete the upgrade, resulting in an indefinite delay in delivery time. Eventually, it had no choice but to sell some classic cars with collectible value to Mumtalakat, in exchange for 100 million pounds in working capital, to provide research and development funds for the delayed release of the Artura supercar.

Financial data previously released by the McLaren Group shows that due to the impact of the supply chain interruption and the decline in market demand caused by the epidemic, the McLaren Group suffered a loss of 349 million pounds in 2022; according to the data, as of the end of September 2023, McLaren’s main automotive business department has about £55 million (approximately $69 million) in cash and unused liquidity credit lines, and a net debt of approximately £517 million.

To some extent, although McLaren is a supercar brand, what is different from other supercar manufacturers is that McLaren does not have a sponsor behind it, coupled with continuous losses, which is the key to its financial distress, resulting in McLaren seeking financial assistance from investors many times. In addition, McLaren is fond of supercars and refuses to launch SUV models and pure electric vehicles, but these models are the main theme of the automotive consumer market. On the contrary, sports cars themselves are more expensive, which also注定 that this market is not suitable for the general public. Perhaps this is also the reason why super-luxury sports car manufacturers such as Aston Martin, Lamborghini, Maserati, and Ferrari have all lowered their stance to launch SUV models or new energy vehicles.

For McLaren who has no money in their pockets, the increase in the shareholding ratio of the Bahrain Sovereign Wealth Fund Holding Company this time may mean that it may be able to provide financial support to McLaren. As for whether the Bahrain Sovereign Wealth Fund Holding will be a life-saving straw for McLaren in the future, we have no way of knowing.

It is reported that McLaren may launch a new supercar this year, which may become the successor to the McLaren P1. It is expected to be equipped with gull-wing doors and an output power exceeding 1,000 horsepower.

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