Williams Formula One Team Says Full-Year Profit Rose 28% on Cost Reduction

Williams Grand Prix Holdings Plc said profit from its Formula One business rose 28 percent to 5.8 million pounds ($9.5 million) last year on cost cuts. Sales fell 16 percent to 91 million pounds.

Team Principal Frank Williams said today in a statement that Williams Grand Prix Engineering Ltd.’s results for the year ended Dec. 31, 2010 provide a “solid foundation” amid “one of the harshest sponsorship environments for a long time.” Toyota Motor Corp. ended an agreement with the team, head of finance Louise Evans said by telephone.

An accord between Formula One teams reduced expenses on engines and testing, Evans said. The company’s shares rose 9 cents to 19.94 euros at noon today in Frankfurt.

Williams became the first listed Formula One team on March 2 after co-founders Williams and Patrick Head sold part of their stakes for 25 euros a share to shore up its future in a 60 million-euro ($86.2 million) initial public offering. Head is retiring after this season and sold most of his 23.5 percent holding. Williams retains a 50 percent stake.

The team has failed to score a point in the first four of as many as 20 races this season.

Grove, England-based Williams gets about 75 percent of its income from sponsors and 25 percent from prize money. Several larger companies are looking for the motor-racing series to become more environmentally friendly before sponsoring teams, Williams Chairman Adam Parr said in an interview. Formula One plans to introduce engines in 2013 that reduce fuel consumption by 35 percent.

Hybrid Supercar

Williams is diversifying into road-car technology and is helping to develop a $1.2 million hybrid supercar for Jaguar Land Rover. Production is scheduled to start in 2013.

The company didn’t pay corporation tax in 2010 under a U.K. government research and development tax credit system after carrying forward losses of about 88 million pounds from previous years, Evans said.

Parr said it was “very early days” to discuss the effects of a possible takeover of the auto-racing series by News Corp. and the Agnelli family’s Exor SpA, who said last week they made an initial approach to series owner CVC Capital Partners Ltd.

To contact the reporter on this story: Alex Duff in Madrid at aduff4@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Chris Elser at celser@bloomberg.net

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