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SBD Global/October 31, 2013/Finance

Bids For Germany's Nürburgring Racetrack Currently Being Assessed

After local politicians loaded the Nürburgring with debt equating to around 50 years worth of profit, the famed and feared track "went into administration and is now looking for a new owner," according to Christiaan Hetzner of REUTERS. The assets "include the track and adjacent amusement park that features a rollercoaster that mimics the cockpit g-force in an F1 car" -- although after four years, safety concerns have delayed its maiden voyage until the end of this month. There are "precedents for such interest." Volkswagen's Porsche bought the Nardo Ring circuit in Italy in May '12, while Silverstone, the home of the British Grand Prix, "is owned by a group of more than 800 drivers including F1 stars such as Lewis Hamilton." Indicative bids "are currently being assessed for the track and park, which typically has an annual revenue" of €50M-€60M ($68M-$82M) and underlying profits of €6M-€8M ($8.2M-$11M), "making it more profitable than many carmakers." By law, any buyer "must keep the circuit open to the public and the motor industry." The administrator, Thomas Schmidt, said he has a "sufficient number of legitimate non-binding bids for all the Nürburgring assets" and hopes for a deal early next year. Daimler, BMW and Volkswagen declined to comment. Peter Meyer, president of German motoring club ADAC, which has also said it is seriously considering making a bid, said, "The Nürburgring is without a doubt the cradle of German motorsports. It's an automotive cultural treasure" (REUTERS, 10/30).
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