Italians bail out Aston Martin
- Published: 7/12/2012 at 08:29 PM
- Online news:
LONDON: Aston Martin, the quintessentially British soprts car brand forever linked with James Bond, has received a much-needed financial boost of 150 million pounds from an Italian buyout group Investindustrial.
The deal, announced by Aston Martin, gives Investindustrial a share of 37.5% in the independent carmaker, in which Kuwait's Investment Dar is a major shareholder. It values the firm, founded in 1913, at around 750 million pounds, analysts said.
Aston Martin, which has faced competition from rival brands such as Porsche and Ferrari, said it would use the funds to invest more than 500 million pounds in new products and technologies over the next five years.
"With this partnership and the continued commitment of The Investment Dar, we look forward to working with our shareholders as we realise our vision and exciting future plans," said Aston Martin chairman David Richards.
It would allow the company, which marks the 100th anniversary of its foundation next year, to "realise its ambitious growth strategy".
Aston Martin cars are handcrafted in Gaydon, in county Warwickshire in central England, where the company employs 1,600 people. It was founded by engineers Lionel Martin and Robert Bamford on Jan 15, 1913.
The deal, which aims to shore up the finances of the ailing group, was announced after the Indian motor group Mahindra & Mahindra pulled out of the competition.
Aston Martin was sold by Ford in 2007 for 479 million pounds to a consortium of Investment Dar and another Kuwaiti investment fund, Adeem Investment.
It has since increased sales in China, its fifth-largest market, but sales in Britain and the United States have flagged due to the global financial crisis.
Investindustrial, which recently sold its stake in the high-performance Italian motorbike company Ducati to Germany's Volkswagen, has some experience in "reviving trophy assets", the Financial Times reported.
"We are delighted to form part of this iconic global, but quintessentially British brand," said Andrea Bonomi, senior principal at Investindustrial.
Aston Martin has sold just 2,520 cars in the current year to the end of September, figures showed. Sales were down by 20% from a year ago, and well below the more than 7,000 vehicles sold in 2007.
Aston Martin vehicles have featured in 11 James Bond movies, including the vintage silver DB5 in the latest Bond hit, Skyfall.
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