Aston Martin speeding ahead with October IPO

The British luxury carmaker, famed for making the sports car driven by James Bond, is the first British carmaker to pursue an IPO for decades.
An Aston Martin showroom in central London. The luxury carmaker, which has long said it could pursue a listing, has undergone a turnaround plan since Mr Andy Palmer took over as chief executive officer in 2014 as it boosts its volumes and expands int
An Aston Martin showroom in central London. The luxury carmaker, which has long said it could pursue a listing, has undergone a turnaround plan since Mr Andy Palmer took over as chief executive officer in 2014 as it boosts its volumes and expands into new segments with a new factory due to open next year. PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

LONDON • Luxury British carmaker Aston Martin is seeking a valuation of up to £5.07 billion (S$9.2 billion) from its stock market flotation and has taken steps to prepare for any eventuality over Brexit, it said yesterday.

The company famed for making the sports car driven by fictional secret agent James Bond said last month it was pursuing an initial public offering (IPO), the first British carmaker to do so for decades.

The firm, which was targeting to publish a prospectus yesterday, hopes to announce its final pricing on or around Oct 3. It expects its shares to be admitted to the London Stock Exchange on or around Oct 8.

Carmakers have warned about the impact of any customs checks introduced as a result of a no deal or hard Brexit which could slow down production and add costs when Britain leaves the bloc in March next year.

The boss of Aston, which builds all its cars in Britain, said the company had boosted its stock of engines and components in case free and unfettered trade with the European Union ends in a few months' time.

"We're up to five days of engine stock, for example, and we've got a very large warehouse in Wellesbourne (in central England) where we have at least five days of car stock," chief executive Andy Palmer told Reuters. That is an increase from the previous three days' worth of components held by the firm. "If there are tariffs... for every car we lose because of a 10 per cent tariff into Europe, we presumably pick up from Ferrari and Lamborghini in the other direction because obviously, their cars become more expensive in the United Kingdom," he said.

London and Brussels hope to conclude a Brexit deal by year-end, but fellow carmakers such as BMW and Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) are worried that failure to agree could lead to snarl-ups at motorways and ports disrupting production.

JLR boss Ralf Speth warned last week that the wrong Brexit deal could cost tens of thousands of car jobs and risk production at the firm, Britain's biggest carmaker.

Aston, which has set a price range of £17.50 to £22.50 per share for the 25 per cent of stock it is floating, is targeting a market capitalisation of between £4.02 billion and £5.07 billion.

The carmaker, which has long said it could pursue a listing, has undergone a turnaround plan since Mr Palmer took over in 2014 as it boosts its volumes and expands into new segments with a new factory due to open next year.

Mr Palmer said investor interest had been "unprecedented" so far.

"The tendency of the investors are 'long only' type investors, people that understand that this is a growth story," he said when asked who he would be meeting.

"The aeroplane is halfway down the runway but there's still half the runway to go."

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 21, 2018, with the headline 'Aston Martin speeding ahead with October IPO'. Print Edition | Subscribe