British sports car maker McLaren appears to have gained a little breathing room with an injection of US$184 million (RM788 million) from the National Bank of Bahrain in ‘financing facility’, Car and Driver reports. The Bahrain Sovereign Fund owns 44% of the National Bank of Bahrain, as well as a majority stake in McLaren.
This follows McLaren’s decision at the end of May to lay off 1,200 employees due to the Covid-19 pandemic that has battered its revenue streams. The carmaker said previously in a statement that it had attempted to cut costs and avoid layoffs as much as it could, and previously said it would grant its staff a leave of absence while selected staff would take a pay cut as a stop-gap measure.
Troubles faced by McLaren are ongoing, however, as it has entered a legal battle with holders of existing bonds. The case is over whether or not McLaren can raise more debt against its assets, which include its factory in Woking, England and its collection of historic race cars. Holders of a previous bond issued in 2017 claim that these have already been employed as security against an earlier debt, the report said.
McLaren said, in papers filed with English courts, that a credit line equivalent to US$160 million (RM685 million) has been fully utilised, and that the carmaker would face a potentially catastrophic shortfall if the court ruled against it. In the meantime, the financing facility provided by the National Bank of Bahrain gives McLaren some relief in the scheme of hurdles it has to overcome.
The return of Formula 1 in the much-delayed start to the 2020 season should also provide McLaren with some additional revenue as the organisation aims to bolster recovery with a fortified European race calendar. The track-focused 765LT supercar announced in March has also courted strong demand in the US, say sources close to McLaren, who is on course to introduce next year the first model to be based on its second-generation platform.