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Aston Martin sets out plans to float on London Stock Exchange

Aston Martin sets out plans to float on London Stock Exchange

File photo of Aston Martin logo. (Photo: Reuters/ Thomas Peter)

LONDON: Luxury carmaker Aston Martin said on Wednesday (Aug 29) it intended to float on the London Stock Exchange, completing a turnaround after a boost to volumes and an increase in models led to a return to profitability.

If successful it would become the first British-based carmaker to be listed in London for years, following the sale of iconic brands such as Jaguar, Bentley and Rolls-Royce to foreign owners.

The initial public offering, which will follow in the footsteps of the likes of Ferrari, could see the firm valued at up to 5 billion pounds (US$6.38 billion), sources have previously told Reuters.

Aston Martin said it had filed a Registration Document with Britain's Financial Conduct Authority, which is a requirement of firms considering an initial public offering (IPO). Pending a final decision, a prospectus will be published on or around Sept 20.

The carmaker's boss Andy Palmer told Reuters he hoped the flotation would complete by the end of the year, which would coincide with when Britain hopes to have agreed a Brexit deal with the European Union.

Aston Martin sells roughly 25 per cent of its cars to the EU and operates its only plant in Britain with a second one due to begin operations in 2019.

But Palmer said he did not think even a bad Brexit deal involving tariffs would have a big impact on the firm.

"We can demonstrate that Brexit is not a major effect for us," he told Reuters.

"If there is a tariff into Europe, it's countered by a tariff into the UK for our competitors so you might lose a little bit of market share in the EU but you pick it up in the UK," he said.

The plan will involve a secondary sell-down by existing shareholders, mainly Kuwaiti and Italian private equity groups, with a free float of at least 25 per cent.

The firm intends to apply for a premium listing on the London Stock Exchange with employees and customers able to apply to purchase shares.

Aston, which spent years losing money, last year turned its first profit since 2010 and on Wednesday posted half-year adjusted pre-tax profits of 42 million pounds as revenues rose 8 per cent to 445 million pounds due to strong demand for its DB11 coupe and Volante models.

The central England-based firm said it expected full-year volumes to rise to between 6,200 and 6,400 units and in the medium term it aims to build nearly 10,000 in the 2020 calendar year.

Source: Reuters/aj

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