Aston Martin is not looking for new shareholders, CEO says

Europe

ST ATHAN, Wales — Aston Martin’s two major shareholders are in it for the long term and the company is not actively soliciting participation, the automaker’s CEO, Andy Palmer, said.

The comments came after a media report said Lawrence Stroll, owner of Formula One team Racing Point, is preparing a bid for a major stake in the company.

The Kuwait-based Adeem/Primewagon shareholding group owns a 36 percent stake in Aston Martin, while Italy-based InvestIndustrial has 31 percent. Daimler has a 4 percent shareholding. The rest is publicly held.

“They look to the long term,” Andy Palmer said of the company’s biggest owners. “We’re certainly not actively soliciting any other participation. That’s not to say it doesn’t come,” he said.

Asked about Thursday’s report in Autocar magazine, Palmer said: “You know what we would have to do if there was an official approach. Beyond that, I can’t comment,” he said. Publicly-listed companies are subject to specific disclosure rules.

The automaker opened its new factory in Wales on Friday which will build the company’s first SUV, the DBX.

The model is key to Aston Martin’s hopes of a turnaround after a poor performance this year sent shares tumbling.

Aston launched the SUV last month, hoping that more female buyers will help boost sales after a year in which it has so far posted a pre-tax loss due to weaker-than-expected demand for its sports cars, particularly in Europe.

“The opening … is a hugely important milestone in the company’s growth plan and integral to our ambitions as a global luxury brand with a presence in all major sectors of the market,” Palmer said at the plant.

The St Athan site near Cardiff in south Wales is the 106-year-old firm’s second car plant after its existing site in Gaydon, central England.

Aston has seen its share price fall by around 75 percent since a stock market flotation in October 2018 as the global automotive industry faces the challenge of falling demand in several important markets and the need to spend more electrification.

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