Aston Martin may float on the London stock market

Luxury carmaker Aston Martin says it may float on the London stock market, completing a turnaround that has seen the firm boost sales and profits.

The flotation would be the first by a UK carmaker for years, following the sale of brands such as Jaguar, Bentley and Rolls-Royce to foreign owners. Last year, Aston made its first profit since 2010, and on Wednesday posted half-year pre-tax profits of £42m, reports BBC.

Its main shareholders are an Italian investment fund and Kuwaiti investors. The carmaker said it would initially float a minimum of 25% of the company.

Chief executive Andy Palmer told reporters that some shareholders would “cash out” their investment. He described the plans as a “key milestone” in the history of the company.

Aston Martin has struggled for decades to make a profit, but under Mr Palmer, a former Nissan executive, the company has been broadening its product range.

It expects full-year sales for 2018 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. The company is also involved in projects to build an electric flying car and even a personal submarine.

Part of the turnaround strategy involved targeting female buyers – no easy task given the company has sold fewer than 4,000 cars to women in its 105-year history.

Aston Martin must be less dependent on a narrow portfolio and one type of customer, Mr Palmer says.

Alongside the flotation announcement, Aston Martin also disclosed its first-half results, reporting an 8% year-on-year sales increase to £445m for the six months ended 30 June.

It said the performance was driven by its consulting business as well as increased revenue from sales of its special edition vehicles, including the Vanquish Zagato family and DB4 GT Continuation models.

Mr Palmer said: “Today’s results show that we have continued to deliver sustainable growth, margins and value for our shareholders whilst launching three new models and variants in the first half of the year.”

As part of the restructuring, Aston Martin it to open a new factory at St Athan, in Wales, in 2019.

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