Aston Martin: F1 billionaire owner leads rescue deal

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Struggling luxury UK carmaker Aston Martin has announced plans to raise emergency funding worth £500m.

A consortium led by billionaire Lawrence Stroll will put in £182m, with the rest of the money coming from existing investors.

Mr Stroll partly owns the Racing Point Formula 1 team, which will be branded Aston Martin from 2021 under the deal.

The move comes hours after a board meeting held to discuss how to prop up the ailing firm.

Aston Martin’s best known customer is fictional spy James Bond and the company recently revealed that four of its cars will feature in the next Bond movie, No Time To Die.

Racing Point F1 car
Lawrence Stroll partly owns the Racing Point Formula 1 team

The carmaker said its latest financial moves were aimed at strengthening its balance sheet after its “disappointing performance” in 2019.

Mr Stroll’s consortium will take a 20% stake in the company and he will become its executive chairman.

As a result, Penny Hughes will be stepping down as Aston Martin’s chairman once the deal is completed.

She said: “The difficult trading performance in 2019 resulted in severe pressure on liquidity which has left the company with no alternative but to seek substantial additional equity financing.”

“Without this, the balance sheet is not robust enough to support the operations of the group.”

“Notwithstanding recent weak trading, the strength of the Aston Martin brand and our expanding portfolio of cars has allowed us to attract a strong new partner in Mr Stroll to support the turnaround of the business.”

An Aston Martin DB5 is pictured during a promotional appearance on TV in Times Square for the James Bond movie No Time to Die
Four Aston Martins will feature in the next Bond movie, No Time To Die

Earlier this month, the 106-year-old firm issued a profit warning, saying annual earnings were expected to fall by nearly half from a year earlier.

It said core retail sales – which covers sales from Aston Martin dealers to consumers – were up 12% from a year earlier. However, wholesale volumes – which covers how many cars the dealers are ordering from Aston Martin itself – were down 7% to 5,809.

The company said it was expecting earnings of between £130m and £140m, well below the £247.3m it reported last year.

BBC

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