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Aston Martin says profitability to improve this year after tough 2022

(Reuters) - Aston Martin, a London-listed luxury carmaker, said it expects profitability to improve this year and to turn free cash flow positive in the second half as it begins deliveries of its next-generation sports cars in the third quarter.

The company on Wednesday forecast wholesale volumes of about 7,000 units for 2023, slightly below average market expectations of 7,134, but its outlook of for an adjusted core profit margin of about 20% came in ahead of analysts' average view.

Shares in the company jumped 7% to their highest level since July last year by 0816 GMT.

Aston Martin, whose models were favoured by fictional British spy James Bond, has struggled with supply chain issues and higher costs. Last year, it brought on former Ferrari NV boss Amedeo Felisa as its new CEO in a bid to emulate the Italian carmaker's success.

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The company is seeking to become sustainably free cash flow positive from 2024, helped by a capital raising last year, through which Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund (PIF) became its second-largest shareholder.

Revenue at the Gaydon-based group grew 26% to 1.38 billion pounds ($1.67 billion) last year, chiefly because of higher prices. Its core average selling price in 2022 rose 18% to 177,000 pounds.

The British company reported a bigger adjusted operating loss of 118 million pounds for the year ended Dec. 31, compared with a loss of 74.3 million pounds for the same period a year earlier, because of supply chain snarls that delayed deliveries of its cars.

But that loss came in better than analysts average expectations of an adjusted operating loss of 135 million pounds for 2022, according to a company-compiled consensus.

($1 = 0.8280 pounds)

(Reporting by Yadarisa Shabong in Bengaluru; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu and Sharon Singleton)