Via Financial Times

Aston Martin has held talks with several potential investors about raising fresh capital through an equity sale, according to four people familiar with the matter.

A capital injection from outside investors is one of a number of options being considered by the luxury British carmaker to help bolster its squeezed finances. Other alternatives include a rights issue, these people said.

The company has held meetings over recent weeks with a number of potential investors, including Lawrence Stroll, the Formula 1 billionaire, as well as other carmakers and potential investors from the Middle East, India and China.

Of the talks, those with Mr Stroll are at the most advanced level, one of the people added.

The luxury carmaker is seeking additional funding to help it bridge the gap until sales of its sports utility vehicle, the DBX, begin in the second quarter of next year.

“Nothing is off the table at the moment,” said one person familiar with the situation.

A spokesman for Aston Martin declined to comment.

Shares in Aston Martin, which were priced at £19 when the company floated last year, have tumbled sharply since. They fell 10.1 per cent to £5.53 on Friday after the FT reported the talks about a potential equity raise.

Mr Stroll owns the Racing Point F1 team and previously made investments into high-end clothing brands such as Pierre Cardin, Ralph Lauren, Tommy Hilfiger, Asprey and Garrard.

A spokesman for Racing Point said the team “does not comment on speculation and rumours”.

Reports of Mr Stroll’s interest in acquiring a stake in the business were first reported by Autocar Magazine earlier this month. Aston’s shares rose 18 per cent on the day of the report.

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The company raised $150m of high-interest debt in September, of which part was used to pay down earlier borrowings, leaving the business with £60m. It also has the option to raise another $100m, charging interest at 15 per cent, if it books 1,400 orders for the DBX by June.

The group has been stung by the tightening global car market, higher inventory levels at its dealers and the underperformance by its entry-level Vantage sports car.

In the last quarter, Aston reported a pre-tax loss of £13.5m, caused by slowing sales.

It is pegging its hopes on the DBX to revive sales and expand the business.

Earlier this month the company formally opened the new facility in Wales that will assemble the model. Analysts expect the business, which produced around 6,400 cars last year, to sell 2,000 DBX models in 2020, and 4,000 the following year when at full production.

The model takes Aston into the market for luxury SUVs, one of the fastest-growing and most profitable segments of the high-end auto market.

Bentley, Lamborghini, Maserati and Rolls-Royce have all seen orders grow since launching SUVs