Motoring company Cosworth puts itself on sale

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The british motoring company synonymous with motor racing has put itself up for sale.

The company had been waiting to test the market with a flotation, but the owners have now instructed UBS (NYSEArca: DJCI - news) to find a buyer for the business renowned for being powerhouse in the world of motorsport engineering, The Times reports.

Cosworth has been put up for sale by its owners Gerry Forsythe and Kevin Kalkhoven, the former IndyCar racing magnates-turned-venture capitalists, who bought the business from Ford (NYSE: F - news) eight years ago.

Speculation over who will acquire the company that started life in a small workshop in London in 1958 has been rife, with Rolls Royce (LSE: RR.L - news) seen as a favourite.

In recent years Cosworth has moved into the aerospace industry with Rolls Royce one of its key clients.

Another company that could be interested is GKN (LSE: GKN.L - news) , which also operates in the automotive and aerospace industries.

Tim Routsis, Cosworth’s chief executive, told The Times: “We have been paused for the last 18 months and the board has decided that we can not wait any longer otherwise we risk losing momentum.”

He said that Cosworth could be attractive to either private equity or trade buyers.

Over the years Cosowrth has accumulated an enviable roster of achievement: 176 Formula 1 grand prix wins for Cosworth’s engines and 20 consecutive Indy 500 wins for competitors using Cosworth electronics. In Formula One its achievements rank second only to Ferrari.

In 2006, Cosworth faced what it considered ‘the end of the world. Under intense competition from larger multinational automotive marques it lost its contract to supply engines for Formula One.

As a result Cosworth opted to diversify its product portfolio in order to make the most of its assets and abilities and moved into the aerospace industry.

However, the company is now back in Formula 1, supplying engines to two teams - HRT and Marussia.