Carmaker Aston Martin says China’s Geely doubles stake

Aston Martin Lagonda revealed Thursday that Chinese automotive giant Geely has more than doubled its stake to become the British luxury carmaker’s third largest investor.

Aston said in a statement that Geely will invest £234 million ($291 million) under a new partnership lifting its holding to 17 percent, up from a 7.6 percent stake it bought in September.

The deal, aimed at tapping into the giant Chinese market, makes Geely the third largest investor after number one Canadian businessman Lawrence Stroll and number two Saudi Arabia.

Saudi became the second-biggest investor last year following a capital injection from its sovereign wealth fund.

The “substantial investment from Geely” was “part of a new relationship agreement that seeks to support Aston Martin’s growth and vision to be the world’s most desirable ultra-luxury British performance brand,” Aston added.

Thursday’s news sent its share price racing 14.5 percent higher to 264.80 pence on London’s rising stock market.

The carmaker, beloved by fictional British spy James Bond, has seen its shares rocket 72 percent since the start of this year in a remarkable turnaround.

Aston Martin had 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 on fallout from the coronavirus pandemic.

But the automaker was saved from bankruptcy in early 2020 by Canadian billionaire Stroll.

The luxury brand is now looking to shift gear into fully electric vehicles from 2025.

“This (Geely) announcement is a further significant step towards delivering our ambition for Aston Martin,” added executive chairman Stroll in Thursday’s statement.

“Geely Holding… sees tremendous potential for Aston Martin’s long-term growth and success.”

Stroll added: “They offer us a deep understanding of the key strategic growth market that China represents, as well as the opportunity to access their range of technologies and components.”

The Chinese giant will also gain a board seat and has agreed not to raise its stake above 22 percent until August 2024.

“Our decision to increase our shareholding in Aston Martin reflects our confidence in the company’s growth prospects, its technologies and its management team,” added Geely Holding Group Chairman Eric Li. — Agence France-Presse

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