Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s drive to rival the Land Rover Defender has racked up heavy losses amid parts supply difficulties due to global supply chain disruption.
Pre-tax losses at Ineos Automotive, a subsidiary of the billionaire chemicals conglomerate, doubled to €212m (£186m) last year, according to accounts filed with Companies House. It has accumulated total losses of 506 million euros since its inception in 2017 and received another loan from its parent company of 944 million euros last year, in addition to 471 million euros in 2020. It plans to repay the loan from future income from the off-road vehicle.
Ratcliffe, one of Britain’s richest people, intends to build a 4×4 vehicle – called the Grenadier after his favorite London pub – which the company says will combine “the rugged British spirit with German technical rigor”. It launched a full digital brochure in April and has been accepting orders and deposits since mid-May, with plans to start production later this year.
However, the launch date – originally slated for early 2022 – has slipped several times due to supply issues for some parts due to the Covid-19 pandemic and disruption in global trade.
“The company’s directors and management team have kept each other informed of the supply terms to understand key concerns and [are] review options to overcome potential delays,” he said in the accounts.
Higher prices for raw materials and electronic components in particular threaten to drive up the company’s costs, and the company has reported that it has not actively hedged against the risk of rising electronic component prices. raw material.
Ratcliffe, a key Brexit business backer, had planned to build the car in Bridgend, South Wales, but dashed hopes of a car revival by opting for a smart car factory in Hambach instead , in the east of France.
The off-roader will initially use an internal combustion engine, but Ineos is also studying hydrogen fuel cell technology which it could eventually use to power pickup trucks and construction equipment. It received £124,000 from the UK government in 2019-20 for a feasibility study on hydrogen fuel cells, which produce no exhaust emissions other than water, and struck a deal with Hyundai to use technology from the South Korean automaker.
Ratcliffe has a personal fortune of over £6bn, according to The Sunday Times; including his business interests, he is thought to be worth £13billion. However, he moved to Monaco in 2020 for tax purposes despite being a strong Brexit supporter.
In August, the billionaire, who hails from Greater Manchester, declared his interest in buying Manchester United from the club’s beleaguered owners, the Glazer family. He previously wanted to buy Chelsea from Roman Abramovich.
Ineos could not be reached for comment.