We started hearing bombshell news during the morning. People knew to get to Morgan's stand at about 1.45pm without knowing why. It was bigger than the unveiling of the Plus Six (although that’s not small) but not another car. As it happens, I was interviewing Aston Martin CEO Andy Palmer when, without explanation, he made it clear that we should leave his eyrie on the Aston stand and walk the length of the Geneva show, to Morgan.
We arrived in time to see the Plus Six unveiled, and then to hear that the Italian private equity company Investindustrial - already an Aston investor - was buying a majority stake of undisclosed size, for an undisclosed sum, and forthwith.
My initial reaction was concern. Here was one of Britain’s few home-owned companies selling to the Italians, and to a private equity company at that. These people are in business to own things for a while and sell them for a profit: they’ve just recovered their stake in Aston through a flotation. What do we make of that? Never mind the reassurance in the fact that the Morgan family still has a minority stake, and that the management 'dream team', CEO Steve Morris and chairman Dominic Riley, have been assured that they’ll still be running the place. What of the future?
Well, both men are cock-a-hoop about the deal. They make it clear that the chance to invest in facilities and technology, and speed new models, is a new form of freedom for them. They trust the new investors and are excited by the chance to move faster and hire more people.
Have to say I still feel a mite apprehensive. The future’s less certain than it was. But Steve Morris has been at Morgan man and boy. For 34 years. He’s convinced it’s all good and, as a closet Mog lover, I take heart from that. Morgan can be as it was before, says Morris, but making 1500 cars instead of 750.
Making more money and hatching more new models. That’s all good, and I have to admit it.