Aston Martin saved (again) – by Saudi cash

The future of Aston Martin – which has been on the verge of bankruptcy eight times in its tumultuous 109-year history – is being boosted by a massive new Saudi investment.

A total of $1.1 billion has been raised through a major corporate restructuring that gives the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia a 17 per cent share in the iconic British sports car company.

At the same time, the Saudi investment dilutes the shareholding of the company’s majority owner, billionaire Canadian businessman Lawrence Stroll, while boosting the stake held by Mercedes-Benz.

Stroll, who holds 18.3 per cent of Aston Martin, now has the PIF as a 16.3 per cent partner while Mercedes has around 10 per cent.

The new cash injection is being used to cover Aston’s towering debt and fund its future model plans, including the mid-engined $1.8 million Valhalla plug-in hybrid supercar.

“Overall, this is a game changing event for Aston Martin, supporting the delivery of our strategic plans and accelerating our long-term growth potential,” said Mr Stroll when announcing the new financial program.

“It transforms our balance sheet, liquidity and cash-flow profile and provides greater clarity on our pathway to become sustainably free, cash-flow positive, and create significant shareholder value.”

Aston Martin has been through particularly difficult times in recent years, despite a technical liaison with Mercedes-Benz that includes the supply of key components including engines from its AMG performance division. Mercedes-AMG is also the technical partner for Aston Martin in Formula One.

Stroll bought into Aston after a disastrous float on the London stock exchange in 2020 that saw its valuation crash by around 90 per cent. He installed the former head of AMG, Tobias Moers, as chief executive but removed him earlier this year in favour of former Ferrari chief Amedeo Felisa.

He now has a plan for a giant Formula One ‘campus’ including a dedicated wind tunnel, as well as a range of future models including the Valhalla and a growing line-up of SUVs after the success of its DBX.

The Valhalla is expected to hit the road in the second half of next year, with Australian sales in 2024. It will sit alongside the upcoming Vanquish supercar, first revealed in 2019 and promised as a full-time production car, not just a limited-edition toy, for 2025.

The new Saudi investment is part of an aggressive push by the Public Investment Fun, which is the parent of the Armco fuel company that sponsors Aston Martin in Formula One and is also a major backer for tracks and races on the grand prix trail.

The PIF is also a major shareholder in the McLaren Group, and has stakes in high-profile companies including Boeing, Disney, Facebook and Uber.

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