Tuesday 22 May 2018

Profits rev up for maker of James Bond favourite

James Bond’s Daniel Craig in front of a vintage Aston Martin DB5
James Bond’s Daniel Craig in front of a vintage Aston Martin DB5

Christoph Rauwald

Aston Martin Holdings surged to its third consecutive quarterly profit on robust demand for the new DB11 sports car, putting the UK carmaker in a better position for a potential share sale even as Brexit clouds its longer-term outlook.

The company, whose high-end sports cars featured in James Bond films, has been cutting jobs and expanding its model range to reverse six years of losses.

In a bid to follow a trail blazed by Italian rival Ferrari, the carmaker could consider an initial public offering on the London Stock Exchange as early as next year, people familiar with the matter said in May.

A stock sale is "a natural point of speculation" given Aston Martin's ownership structure, CFO Mark Wilson said yesterday. Any decision would have to be made by the closely held company's shareholders and not the management board, he said, reiterating earlier comments. The carmaker's owners include Italian private equity company Investindustrial and a Kuwaiti investment consortium, while Mercedes-Benz parent Daimler owns a small stake.

Aston Martin posted pre-tax earnings for the second quarter after delivering more cars and charging customers more for them, and "there's a possibility, an increasing possibility, that we might be able to report a profit on a full-year basis this year already," Mr Wilson said.

However, Brexit talks pose "a big unknown" for long-term trade issues such as tariffs the carmaker might face in EU countries. CEO Andy Palmer, who took charge three years ago, is pushing to widen the brand's appeal. The company plans to start production of a family-friendly DBX crossover as well as an electric version of the Rapide coupe in 2019.

Second-quarter pretax profit totaled £15.2m (€16.4m) compared with a £52.6m loss a year earlier, as revenue almost doubled to €222m, Aston Martin said in a statement. Full-year adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation will amount to £175m, it said, compared with an earlier £170m forecast.

First-half profit on that basis surged almost fivefold, as deliveries jumped 67pc and its cars' average selling price rose 25pc to £149,000. (Bloomberg)

Irish Independent

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