Why? Well, put simply, while Aston Martin has launched some awesome cars over the last two years, its financial performance has been less good. The company went public in October 2018 in a move that it was hoped would see it grow to new levels. What actually happened was that the share price gradually fell, from £19 per share initially to around £4 per share currently. The knock-on effect is that Aston Martin has been running low on cash, and a boost from a big investor is the best way to secure the company’s future.
£55.5m of funding will be provided immediately from the Stroll-led consortium known as ‘Yew Tree Overseas Limited’ (which includes money from JCB Chairman, Lord Anthony Bamford), with the total investment totalling £182m, roughly 16.7 per cent (45.6m shares) of Aston Martin. More shares will be issued in April, raising a further £318m, giving Aston Martin a total funding round of £500m.
What does this investment mean? Well, quite a lot really. First of all, Lawrence Stroll becomes Executive Chairman of Aston Martin and there are a number of other appointments and departures at senior positions. Andy Palmer remains the CEO.
Secondly, “investment in electric vehicles will be delayed beyond 2025”. That isn’t the greatest of news, given that so many manufacturers are already bringing electric models to market, but a “fuel efficient, modular V6 engine with hybrid capabilities” will continue to be developed, with the aim of hybrid Aston Martins going on sale “from the mid-2020s”. Development of the Rapide E, while “substantially complete”, has been “paused pending a review” where previously “deliveries had been expected to start in 2020”.
What about Aston’s current line-up and the other cars it has been developing? Well the good news is that Aston Martin has stated the “mid-engined portfolio remains a key focus for the Company starting with Valhalla in 2022”. So the Valhalla and Vanquish will still go into production, but the company will attempt to build up a stronger order book for its current range and focus on launching the DBX with great fanfare in the second quarter of 2020, as well as the Vantage Roadster.
What’s more, “specials continue to be a key component of the reset plan”. First customer deliveries of the Valkyrie, Goldfinger DB5 Continuation and DBS GT Zagato will start before the end of 2020. The V12 Speedster “will be unveiled later this year” with deliveries due to start in the first three months of 2021, and the Valkyrie AMR Pro “is still expected to be revealed in 2021”.
Moreover, “new specials which have not yet been revealed will comprise the balance of one heritage special and two contemporary specials each year”. Interesting.
The elephant in the room, though, is Formula 1. Aston Martin has worked with Red Bull to develop the Valkyrie and is the title sponsor of the Red Bull Formula 1 team. Lawrence Stroll, on the other hand, owns the Racing Point Formula 1 team.
The result is that Racing Point will become the Aston Martin works team from 2021 onwards for a “10-year initial term”, with Aston Martin owning part of the team. There’s also a sponsorship deal in place for four years, so the Aston Martin name won’t go away until at least 2025.
In 2020 the sponsorship of Red Bull will continue, and the technology partnership between Aston Martin and Red Bull Advance Technologies “will continue until Aston Martin Valkyrie is delivered”.
If you were worried that Aston Martin would go bust once again (is has done seven times in its 106-year history), you can sleep easy: Aston Martin is safe for now, and its future still looks very exciting.