Williams Advanced Engineering sold in £164m deal

Williams Advanced Engineering sold in £164m deal

Business news |
By Nick Flaherty

One of the UK’s leading power systems developers, Williams Advanced Engineering (WAE), is to be acquired by an Australian mining company for £164m.

Fortescue Metals Group is to acquire WAE to provide high performance battery systems and electrification technologies for industrial transport equipment.

WAE, a spin off from the Williams Formula 1 racing team in 2011, will be part of Fortescue Future Industries for programmes such as Fortescue’s 3km long freight trains, 400 tonne haul trucks and industrial heavy mobile equipment. The heavy industrial sector accounts for more than 20 per cent of global carbon emissions.

“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,” said Craig Wilson, Chief Executive Officer of WAE.

This follows a sale of a majority stake to private equity firm EMK Capital in December 2019 for an undisclosed sum.

“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,” said Dr Andrew Forrest, founder and chairman of Fortescue. “This is an historic moment in the future of our company as we welcome the WAE family into the Fortescue family to work together to de carbonise heavy industry and hard to abate sectors for the good of our planet, and the benefit of our shareholders”

“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,” he said.

Former deputy team principal of the Williams F1 Racing Team, Claire Williams OBE, welcomed today’s announcement.

“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.”

“We are delighted to play a key role in Fortescue’s decarbonisation 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.”

“We have been working with WAE since early 2021, with WAE designing and building a battery system to power an electric mining haul truck; an important first step in the decarbonisation of Fortescue’s mining haul fleet. WAE’s expertise in battery systems and electrification further complements FFI’s green hydrogen projects for haul trucks and mobile fleet to further underpin our technical leadership,” said Fortescue Chief Executive Officer, Elizabeth Gaines.

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