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Williams F-1 Team Sells Hybrid Unit to GKN for $13.3 Million

Williams Grand Prix Engineering Ltd., Formula One’s only publicly traded team, sold a hybrid unit it acquired in 2010 to engineering company GKN Land Systems Ltd. for 8 million pounds ($13.3 million).

Williams will receive a 3.5 percent share in the sales of the company for the next five years, and 1.5 percent for the following five years, GKN said in a statement.

“It rewards us well for the work we’ve done to date,” Williams Grand Prix Chief Executive Officer Mike O’Driscoll said in a telephone interview. GKN is better equipped to turn hybrid projects into mass-market production, he added.

Williams bought the startup unit, which employs 45 staff in Grove, England, after it developed a flywheel that recouped energy from braking for its racing car. The unit is now working to develop flywheel technology for buses with Go-Ahead Group Plc and for trams with Alstom SA.

Parent company Williams Grand Prix Holdings Plc was trading 0.4 percent lower at 20.03 euros per share at 4:15 p.m. in Frankfurt today. Shares in GKN Plc rose 2.6 percent to 400.4 pence at 3:35 p.m. in London.

The unit, Williams Hybrid Power, which had a loss of 1 million pounds for the year through Dec. 31, will become known as GKN Hybrid Power, Redditch, England-based GKN said. Philip Swash, CEO of GKN Land Systems, said that the acquisition is a “great opportunity” to take a unique technology to global markets.

Williams, ninth of 11 teams in the 2013 Formula One championship, improved to fourth after two races this season. The Williams group is working on other research and development projects in the car and aviation industry, O’Driscoll said, adding that many are confidential.

“The best calling card for our advanced engineering is a strong Formula One team,” O’Driscoll said.

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