UK engineering firm GKN buys Williams F1 team's hybrid unit

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(Bloomberg) -- A division of UK engineering group GKN Plc has purchased Williams Grand Prix Engineering's hybrid unit for 8 million pounds (9.7 million euros). Williams will receive a 3.5 percent share in the company's sales for the next five years, and 1.5 percent for the following five years, GKN said in a statement.

The unit, Williams Hybrid Power, has helped to develop flywheel technology for Audi's and Porsche's endurance racecars. Porsche also has shown concept production cars with the technology, a Williams spokesman told Automotive News Europe.

The unit will become known as GKN Hybrid Power and be part of the GKN Land Systems division.

The business "is now at the point of broader market commercialization," Williams Grand Prix CEO Mike O'Driscoll said in a separate statement. GKN has "the resources and expertise to fully realize the enormous potential of the motor sport-proven flywheel technology," added O'Driscoll, who was managing director at Jaguar from 2007 until March 2011.

Williams bought the startup hybrid unit in 2010 after it helped it develop a flywheel that recouped energy from braking for its racecars. The company made a loss of 1 million pounds for the year through Dec. 31, 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.

GKN's other units are GKN Driveline, GKN Powder Metallurgy and GKN Aerospace. GKN Plc ranks No. 34 on the Automotive News Europe list of the top 100 global suppliers, with sales to automakers of $6.4 billion in 2012.

Automotive News Europe contributed to this report

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