Aston Martin confirms funding talks with potential strategic investors

by Jim Holder, Autocar UK 14 Dec 2019


Aston Martin has confirmed it is in talks with potential investors in a statement to the Stock Exchange.

"The Company confirms that is reviewing its funding requirements and various funding options," the statement read. "It is also engaged in early stage discussions with potential strategic investors in relation to building longer term relationships which may or may not involve an equity investment. A further announcement will be made as and when appropriate."

The formal confirmation of talks comes after Autocar UK and RaceFans.net first revealed interest in the firm from billionaire Lawrence Stroll last week. Yesterday the Financial Times also reported that investors – including rival car makers and firms based in the Middle East, India and China – were also interested in a stake in the firm.

Stroll, father of Formula 1 driver Lance and owner of the Racing Point F1 team, is estimated to be worth in excess of £2 billion (Rs 19,054 crore), having made his money investing and building up brands including Pierre Cardin, Ralph Lauren, Tommy Hilfiger, Asprey and Garrard.

He is also famed for his car collection, which is most notable for including what many regard as the most valuable collection of classic Ferraris in the world.

Both his business interests and car collection are reported to have given him the contacts to head a consortium looking to take control of Aston Martin, in the belief they can take advantage of its current low stock value and lower than expected sales prior to building the brand’s equity up again in future years, most notably by taking advantage of anticipated sales for the recently launched Aston Martin DBX SUV.  While pre-orders for the DBX are said to be exceeding expectations, deliveries do not begin until mid-2020.

Both the Racing Point F1 team and Aston Martin currently have bases at Silverstone, although Aston's headquarters are in Gaydon, Warwickshire. 

Lawrence Stroll declined to comment on the report when contacted by RaceFans.net.

Aston’s share price is currently hovering at between £5 and £6 – up from a low of just above £4 but well down on its high of around £17. The majority of shares are currently held by the Kuwait-based Adeem/Primewagon group, while the Strategic European Investment Group, part of the Italian private equity group Investindustrial, currently holds around a one-third holding in the company. Mercedes parent Daimler also owns 4% of the firm – as well as supplying engines to the Racing Point F1 team owned by Stroll.

The firm has come under intense scrutiny since floating in 2018, with a valuation of around £5 billion (Rs 47,635 crore), and earlier this year had to issue a profit warning after substantially downgrading its sales forecasts in the face of slowing global demand for its products. In the first six months of 2019, it reported losses of nearly £80 million (Rs 762 crore).

Additional reporting by Dieter Rencken