An interesting development in Germany

The word from Germany is that HWA, the company that runs all of Mercedes-Benz's non-Formula 1 motor sport activities, is to be floated on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange later this year.

HWA has only existed for the last eight years, having been established when Mercedes-Benz acquired AMG from Hans-Werner Aufrecht.

Aufrecht, a former Mercedes engineer, set up AMG (Aufrecht Melcher Grossaspach) in 1967 with a Mercedes colleague Erhard Melcher in the town of Grossaspach. They began designing and building racing engines and then as they became more successful moved into uprating standard Mercedes-Benz road cars. Aufrecht eventually acquired full control of the company and played an important role in building up Mercedes-Benz's image for high-performance racing machinery.

In 1999 Mercedes decided to take AMG in-house and use the brand to increase its sales. As part of that deal Aufrecht gave up 51% of his firm but was allowed to set up HWA to continue the work he had been doing in racing, entering the Mercedes-Benz factory cars in the DTM and developing and marketing the Mercedes-Benz Formula 3 engine. The company had a turnover in 2006 of $76m and made a pre-tax profit of $9m. It employs 224 people and has three divisions: tuning road cars, racing and designing engines.

Aufrecht recently changed the legal status of the company to allow it to become a listed company and the plan is for five million shares to be sold. The money raised will enable the firm to plan for the succession for Aufrecht, who is now 68, and to fund expansion plans. There are believed to include plans to make a bigger impression in the United States. The compamny has recently invited former Mercedes-Benz chief executive Jurgen Hubbert to be the chairman of its supervisory board.

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