Caterham owner Tony Fernandes has issued a statement denying reports that the company is up for sale.
Over the weekend Malaysian business website The Edge reported, via an unnamed source, that the company was seeking new owners from the Middle East. It’s claimed that current owners and co-chairmen Tony Fernandes and Datuk Kamarudin Maranun were hoping for a sale price of around 350 million pounds ($635 million) for the Caterham Group.
Today Fernandes issued a blunt rebuttal saying that “the Caterham Group is not for sale”. He did go on to concede that the company is “always looking for further investment”.
Currently the Caterham Group is involved in car making, motorsports and engineering consulting services. Through its Caterham Cars arm the company makes the iconic Seven, but recent attempts to branch out into higher volume ventures has foundered. Earlier this year it was reported that the company’s joint venture with Renault to revive the Alpine brand was close to collapse, while the AeroSeven is rumoured to be delayed due to customer feedback.
Its high profile entry into the rarified world of Formula One hasn’t been a success. Since entering the championship in 2010 under the Lotus banner, the team has yet to pick up a single point. Before the start of the current season Fernandes was quoted as saying, “After five years and to get no points, there’s a limit to everyone’s patience”.
Fernandes, a former executive of Warner Music, made his fortune by buying failing airline AirAsia from the Malaysian government for one ringgit (34 cents). Starting with just two planes and a debt of around US$11 million, he transformed the company into a successful budget airline.
According to Forbes magazine Fernandes is worth around $650 million. In addition to Caterham, Fernandes is also a co-owner of the Queens Park Rangers soccer team, which recently won re-entry into the English Premier League.