Williams Advanced Engineering has been sold to Australian firm Fortescue Metals Group [FMG], in a deal worth £164 million.
Fortescue have bought 100 percent of the company, and founder and chairman Dr Andrew Forrest says the deal came about as his company looks to help “save the planet from cooking” by heading towards the ambitious aim of making FMG fully carbon neutral by 2030.
An offshoot of the group, Fortescue Future Industries [FFI], has been geared towards helping the group achieve this aim for themselves and in the heavy industrial sector as a whole – which accounts for around 20% of global carbon dioxide emissions.
FFI will work directly with WAE to help the company towards its sustainability goals, and they are ready for the challenge of creating a pathway to make one of the world’s heaviest-polluting industries become greener.
“This is the race of our lifetimes – the race to save the planet from cooking. The speed at which we move matters,” Dr Forrest said upon the takeover.
“Together FFI and WAE will work to decarbonise Fortescue – with the aim of achieving that faster and more effectively than anyone else in the world.
“This is an historic moment in the future of our company as we welcome the WAE family into the Fortescue family.”
Together, FFI and WAE will push the limits of innovation to decarbonise heavy industry world-wide and combat #ClimateChange
— Williams Advanced Engineering (@WilliamsAdvEng) January 23, 2022
Craig Wilson, WAE chief executive, explained: “High performance battery and electrification systems are at the core of what we do at WAE and this acquisition and investment will facilitate 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.”
Former Williams F1 deputy team principal Claire Williams also voiced her support for the deal, given the wider implications for trying to bring global emissions down.
She added: “Since the team sold a majority shareholding in WAE to EMK Capital a couple of years ago, EMK and the Management Team have done a fantastic job in taking the business forward.
“We are delighted that Fortescue are now taking over that mantle and see the value in the company and its people in tackling some of the biggest issues facing our world today.
“I am sure that they will continue to drive considerable success through the business and achieve further results in decarbonising heavy industry and tackling the issue of global warming.”
WAE was founded by the late Sir Frank Williams back in 2010, born out of the Williams Formula 1 team with the aim of becoming leaders in engineering and technology sectors.
Dorilton Capital took over the running of the Williams F1 team in the summer of 2020, ending 43 years of ownership by the Williams family.
The team’s financial footing has improved as a result, and new driver Alex Albon believes there are “really exciting times” ahead for them.