An Italian Investment Group Just Saved Aston Martin

paul mccartney aston martin db5 auction rm
Aston Martin is now in a position to produce more cars like this DB5, once owned by Paul McCartney.

[credit provider=”Courtesy of RM Auctions”]

Aston Martin, maker of the luxury British sports car favoured by James Bond, has revealed Investindustrial is pumping £150 million ($240.26 million) into the company.The deal will see the Italian private equity fund take a 37.5 per cent stake in Aston Martin, which said the investment would allow it to accelerate its product development and international expansion.

It values the company – which is 100 years old next year – at close to £800 million ($1.28 billion), and makes Investindustrial a shareholder alongside Aston Martin’s Kuwaiti owners Investment Dar.

David Richards, Aston Martin’s chairman, said: “It gives stability to the company and certainty of product planning for the next few years.

“Without it development plans would have been slower because with the market as it is at the moment, you have to be fairly cautious about investment.”

He said the company plans to invest more than £500 million ($800.85 million) in new products and technology over the next five years.

About 70 per cent of Aston Martin vehicles are exported and the company has been expanding in China over the last 18 months, the full benefit of which is yet to be felt.

Andrea Bonomi, senior principal at Investindustrial, described Warwickshire-based Aston Martin as an “iconic global, but quintessentially British brand.”

He added: “We are looking forward to working with the management and Investment Dar to achieve a similar transformation and rejuvenation that we achieved with [Italian motorcycle company] Ducati, by expanding the model range and strengthening the dealership network, throughout the world.”

The deal ends weeks of speculation about a sale of a stake in the car manufacturer. It is thought five serious bidders were circling Aston Martin, including Indian manufacturer Mahindra & Mahindra which is thought to have pulled out.

Last week Moody’s said it was reviewing Aston Martin’s credit rating with the possibility that it might be downgraded deeper into “junk” territory because of a weaker than expected performance.

The company sold 2,520 cars in the year to the end of September, 20 per cent fewer compared with a year earlier, and well below pre-recession levels of more than 7,000.

Revenue fell 19 per cent to £305 million ($488.5 million).