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Aston Martin raises over £650m in new capital as Saudis take stake

·1-min read
Shares rise in Aston Martin on news of its plan to raise capital (Ben Birchall/PA) (PA Wire)
Shares rise in Aston Martin on news of its plan to raise capital (Ben Birchall/PA) (PA Wire)

Aston Martin, the world-famous sportscar maker, is to raise £653 million in fresh capital to pay down debt and invest in the next generation of electric vehicles.

The company -- best known for supplying cars to the James Bond movies -- is selling over 23 million news shares to Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund PIF, which will become its second-largest shareholder.

It said up to half the proceeds from the rights issue will be used to repay debt. Aston’s investors Mercedes-Benz and the Yew Tree Consortium will back the capital raising. PIF will have two seats on the board

“This is a game changing event for Aston Martin,” said Lawrence Stroll, executive chairman.

“I am delighted to welcome the Public Investment Fund as a new anchor shareholder.”

The investment will also help develop Aston Martin’s DBX sports utility brand and meet its targets for electric cars. It intends to deliver a hybrid model in 2024 and a fully electrified model by 2030.

The Warwickshire-based company has carried a heavy debt burden and its sales were hit hard by the pandemic, just as it faced rising development costs relating to electric cars. It has also been faced with supply chain disruption from Covid-19 measures in China, although the weaker pound has helped it, with what it called “FX tailwinds”.

Aston turned down an alternative offer from Geely, the Chinese carmaker, and Investindustrial, Aston’s former owner, for an investment of up to £1.3 billion . Aston said that offer “markedly overestimated” its capital requirements and amounted to an effort to take control without paying a premium to shareholders.

Its shares rose 19% to 449p in morning trade in London on Friday.

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