Saturday, August 20, 2011

Singapore Tycoon Peter Lim Buys Stake in McLaren

Aaron Low — Straits Timea Indonesia
August 20, 2011

Singapore billionaire businessman Peter Lim loves fast cars so much he is buying a stake in one of the world’s top sports car makers. McLaren Automotive said on Friday that Lim had made a “significant investment” in the company, which produces ‘supercars’ that can be driven on public roads legally.

The company also has its own Formula One team — and the deal is in time for next month’s F1 Grand Prix in Singapore.

Lim, 58, who is worth an estimated $1.8 billion, has also joined McLaren Automotive’s board of directors with immediate effect, the firm said.

The company spokesman declined to disclose the amount of the investment, but said that more details will be released at the next F1 race here next month.

Lim made his fortune first as one of the most successful remisiers here in the 1990s, and then with a $10 million investment in palm oil company Wilmar International — now worth about $1 billion.

Ron Dennis, executive chairman of McLaren Automotive and McLaren Group, said in a statement that he is looking forward to working with Lim as the company expands into Asia.

“This is a very exciting time for us and, as part of our growth strategy, we have been absolutely rigorous in ensuring that the right partners join us; those who are focused on supporting McLaren Automotive through investment that generates strong returns and strategic growth for the future,” he said.

McLaren Group launched McLaren Automotive last year along with its first supercar called the MP4-12C.

The car, which boasts a 3.8-liter twin-turbo V8 and can reach 100km per hour in 3.1 seconds, is priced from $900,000 without COE in Singapore.

In June, McLaren said they had an order book for 1,821 cars even before the first unit was delivered, which means it is sold out until next year.

There had been talk that Lim was involved in a deal with the sports car maker as early as February but when asked by The Straits Times, his public relations consultant had then denied the link.

Lim, who has a passion for sports cars and owns several of his own, is known for his uncanny ability to spot a good deal.

Earlier this year, the Singapore tycoon, also known as the ‘Remisier King’, bought Thomson Medical Centre.

He also made an unsuccessful bid to buy English football club Liverpool FC for 360 British million pounds ($593 million) last year.

Asian tycoons, boosted by the massive wealth being generated in the world’s fastest growing region, have been moving into the high-end luxury and sports sector with several high-profile acquisitions.

Hong Kong tycoon Carson Yeung bought English football club Birmingham in 2009.

And just this week, Malaysia multi-millionaire Tony Fernandes completed the takeover of another English football club Queens Park Rangers.

Fernandes made his money through his successful AirAsia budget airline business and also owns the Team Lotus F1 outfit.

Reprinted courtesy of Straits Times Indonesia.