Evelyn Partners, W Series’ administrators, have confirmed that although the “survival of the existing company is unachievable,” there has been “considerable interest from third parties” in acquiring the remaining assets.
Their recently published joint administrators’ report and summary of proposals sets out the expected timeline for selling the assets of W Series’ operating company, with a teaser document to be distributed to interested parties “shortly” and the aim of concluding a sale “before mid-September”.
The report confirms that W Series owns “19 racing cars with engines and gearboxes, mechanical tools and equipment and racing trailer awning equipment”.
However these have been withheld by the series’ logistics partner DHL, still within the containers used to transport the equipment to Austin for the aborted support race to the 2022 United States Grand Prix, as security for unpaid bills.
According to the report, DHL is owed £512,000 by W Series. The administrators are confident that the market value of the cars and equipment exceeds the amount of DHL’s claim, and they will therefore be able to recover them for eventual sale.
In addition, the company owns W Series’ intellectual property, including trademarks and social media content. While these will also be up for sale, the administrators believe that these are “unlikely to hold significant value if sold separately to the rest of the assets”.
The administrators are trying to recover two debts owed to W Series, amounting in total to £15.8m, although a shortage of available funds has so far prevented lawyers being instructed to chase the debtor to them located outside the United Kingdom.
So far, the administrators have identified a total of £17.2 million owed by W Series to creditors, including suppliers such as Tatuus, Autotecnica and Hankook, TV production company Whisper Films and Velocity Experience, the provider of the series’ hospitality unit, W HQ and its fan festival.
The company’s largest creditor is the Formula One Group, to which W Series owes over £1.5m.
The report makes no specific reference to unpaid prize money to the drivers.
Having made the sole remaining employee redundant upon being appointed, the administrators have been assisted by “the former team manager given their level of knowledge, expertise and experience”.
As part of the sales process, potential buyers will be able to inspect the company’s assets at the company’s leased premises at Dunsfold Aerodrome (famous for being the home of Top Gear for many years), but only once agreement has been reached with DHL.
As in any liquidation process, priority is given to certain creditors, principally employees and the tax authorities, as well as the expenses of the administrators themselves. As such, the amount that the remaining creditors might receive depends on the proceeds of the sale and, given the size of the losses incurred by W Series, may be less than the amount owed.
As the administrators warn in their report, they are “unable to comment on the estimated return… until a sale of the assets has been concluded and the recoverability of the book debts established”.