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Aston Martin rescue deal agreed as F1 billionaire buys stake

Tom Belger
·Finance and policy reporter
·2-min read
BAHRAIN, BAHRAIN - MARCH 31: Owner of Racing Point Lawrence Stroll walks in the Paddock followed by son Lance Stroll of Canada and Racing Point before the F1 Grand Prix of Bahrain at Bahrain International Circuit on March 31, 2019 in Bahrain, Bahrain. (Photo by Charles Coates/Getty Images)
Lawrence Stroll has bought a stake in Aston Martin. Photo: Charles Coates/Getty Images

Shares in struggling carmaker Aston Martin Lagonda (AML.L) have soared after it announced a rescue deal led by a billionaire Formula One (F1) owner.

The luxury carmaker, best known as James Bond’s car of choice, sought to raise emergency funds after a difficult trading year.

A consortium led by Canadian Lawrence Stroll, owner of the F1 team Racing Point, will take 16.7% of the company, but plans to increase its holding to up to 20%.

His £182m investment is part of a £500m rescue deal, with the rest of the cash coming from a rights issue from leading current shareholders. Its share price rocketed 26.7% on the announcement.

The company also announced the Racing Point F1 works team, owned by Stroll, will be renamed the Aston Martin F1 works team.

READ MORE: UK car production hits lowest level since 2010

Stroll is best known for leading the IPO of Michael Kors and his love of Ferraris, and has been a longstanding investor in the car industry.

The company said in an update filed with regulators that lower sales, higher selling costs and margins below expectations had forced it to “necessarily and immediately” improve its liquidity amid concerns over its debts.

Aston Martin Lagonda shares soared on news of a rescue deal. Chart: Yahoo Finance UK
Aston Martin Lagonda shares soared on news of a rescue deal. Chart: Yahoo Finance UK

It also said its investment in electric vehicles will be delayed beyond 2025 as it seeks to keep a rein on costs, with plans to reduce its costs by £7m this year.

Penny Hughes, Aston Martin Lagonda’s chair, said its balance sheet was “not robust enough” to support operations, leaving it with “no alternative but to seek substantial additional equity financing.”

Dr Andy Palmer, its president and group CEO, said: "As we announced on 7 January, the past year has been a regrettably disappointing and challenging time for the Company.

“Mr Stroll brings strong and proven expertise in both automotive and luxury brands more widely which we believe will be of significant benefit to Aston Martin Lagonda.”

READ MORE: 2019 one of the worst years on record for carmaker job cuts