Volvo and Lotus owner interested in investing British sports car firm; billionaire Lawrence Stroll also in frame to take 19.9% share
Jim Holder
10 January 2020

Chinese car maker Geely, the owner of Lotus and Volvo, a part-owner of Smart and a significant shareholder in Daimler, is in talks to invest in Aston Martin, according to a report by the Financial Times.

The report suggests Geely is conducting due diligence ahead of a potential formal offer - although it is not clear if the goal is a technical partnership, a financial stake in the firm or both.

It is also suggested that Geely's involvement may not preclude billionaire Lawrence Stroll's mooted investment; he is also said to be in advanced talks with the firm, and reported to be seeking a 19.9% stake in it for around £200m.

Earlier this week Aston issued an unexpected profit warning due to "challenging trading conditions". Revealing the firm sold 5819 cars in 2019, 7% down on 2018, chief executive Andy Palmer said Aston had suffered a "very disappointing year".

“The challenging trading conditions highlighted in November continued through the peak delivery period of December resulting in lower sales, higher selling costs and lower margins,” said Palmer.

As a result Palmer said that Aston's earnings margin for 2019 will be 12.5-13.5 per cent. Last summer it issued a warning that the margin would be 20%, triggering a substantial fall in its stock price. Palmer added that adjusted earnings before interest tax depreciation and amortisation will be £130-140m, around £60m below expectations.

Palmer also revealed Aston spent more on marketing and underwriting finance than previously.

“Whilst we are disappointed with trading performance in 2019, our focus is now on revitalising the business, launching DBX and ensuring profitable growth in the medium-term," added Palmer.

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Aston Martin confirmed that it was in talks with potential investors late last year, following a story broken by Autocar and RaceFans.net, which first revealed interest in the firm from Stroll. Other potential investors are reported to include rival car makers and firms based in the Middle East, India and China.

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, 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.  Aston confirmed it has received 1800 pre-orders for the DBX, but 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.

The majority of Aston's 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.

Both Geely and Lawrence Stroll have so far declined to comment on any of the reports.

The firm has come under intense scrutiny since floating in 2018, with a valuation of around £4.5bn. Today the share price has fallen by around 80% from that point.

Additional reporting by Dieter Rencken

 

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Comments
70

5 December 2019

NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO

5 December 2019
jonboy4969 wrote:

NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO

Aston floated, meaning anyone with deep enough pockets could do this, why not Stroll?  

I like the idea of racing point becoming a proper works Aston Martin F1 team. Stroll is also a massive car lover, I can't see any negatives to be honest. Better him than come Chinese consortium surely? 

5 December 2019
Vidge 123 wrote:

jonboy4969 wrote:

NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO

Aston floated, meaning anyone with deep enough pockets could do this, why not Stroll?  

I like the idea of racing point becoming a proper works Aston Martin F1 team. Stroll is also a massive car lover, I can't see any negatives to be honest. Better him than come Chinese consortium surely? 

Wait and see what he does with Aston Martin, if he buys. He may be good for the company or, he may wait for SUV sales to boost the value of Aston, strip what he can and dump the company.

 

Aston doesn't have a great track record, where being bought up by rich car nuts is concerned.

5 December 2019
Vidge 123 wrote:

jonboy4969 wrote:

NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO

Aston floated, meaning anyone with deep enough pockets could do this, why not Stroll?  

I like the idea of racing point becoming a proper works Aston Martin F1 team. Stroll is also a massive car lover, I can't see any negatives to be honest. Better him than come Chinese consortium surely? 

OK, so you're sniffy about the Chinese, which means the prize winning question has to be, is a Canadian billionaire better or worse than Kuwati wealth managment outfits that also provide senior management to the car company?

Anyway, Stroll's involvement in Williams ended well, didn't it? (rhetorical question)

5 December 2019

The "Race Fans" article was written in conjunction with Jim Holder who wrote this article, to create what seems to be a click bait article driving adverytising revenue for Race Fans and Haymarket/Autocar. 

I have shares in Aston Martin as could anyone who wanted to buy some, it's called a stock market listing. The company would have to make a stsement to the stock exchange if this were happening and it hasn't.

So yes Mr Stroll can also buy shares, at the moment more than 31% are owned by InvestIndustrial (I believe they are buying back shares sold in the floatation) Daimler Benz (Mercedes) own 5% of Aston Martin so, are these people are not part of "The Stroll Consortium?"

I suspect not, in which case it is a non story.

5 December 2019

YES YES YES YES!

Absolutely laughable, again, bumbling from one crisis to another.

Again...

7 December 2019
lambo58 wrote:

Absolutely laughable, again, bumbling from one crisis to another.

Rather like Tesla.

13 December 2019

What do you know you prat

LOL

 

13 December 2019
lambo58 wrote:

What do you know you prat

LOL

 

More than you, it would seem.

15 December 2019

You doth protest too much methinks

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