Aston Martin shares zoom higher on Saudi investment

Aston Martin Lagonda revealed Friday that Saudi Arabia was set to become its second-biggest investor via a capital injection, sending shares in James Bond’s favourite carmaker sharply higher.

Aston Martin will raise £653 million ($773 million) in funds that it will use to cut debt and strengthen growth, it said in a statement.

Under the plan, Riyadh’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) — which is chaired by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman — will become its second biggest shareholder.

The sovereign wealth fund had led a takeover last year of English Premier League football club Newcastle, sparking protests over Saudi Arabia’s human rights record.

Investors welcomed Friday’s announcement, pushing Aston Martin’s share price up 20 percent in London afternoon deals.

It follows a turbulent time for the famous British brand loved by 007.

Aston Martin was saved from bankruptcy in early 2020 by Canadian billionaire Lance Stroll, who is the top shareholder.

“Today’s announcement marks the latest success in the evolution of Aston Martin, the restoration of the business and balance sheet we inherited, and the acceleration of our long-term growth potential,” Stroll said in Friday’s statement.

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

Aston Martin’s top-end vehicles play a starring role in blockbuster Bond films, giving them a valuable marketing boost.

However, the group suffered vast losses in 2019 as it crashed spectacularly on weak global demand linked to China’s economic slowdown and Brexit.

Losses then deepened further in 2020 as a result of fallout from the coronavirus pandemic. (AFP)

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