Carmaker Aston Martin skids on market debut

LONDON: Shares in luxury automaker Aston Martin fell as much as 6.5 per cent in its market debut in London on Wednesday after investors and analysts raised concerns that it may find it hard to deliver on an ambitious roll-out of new models.
The company, which last year made its first profit since 2010 and has gone bankrupt seven times, had priced its shares at 19 pounds each, giving it a market capitalisation of 4.33 billion pounds ($5.63 billion).
The shares fell to as low as 17.75 pounds and were down 3.16 per cent at 0759 GMT.
Aston Martin had initially set a range of 17.50 pounds to 22.50 pounds per share, but on Monday narrowed this to 18.50 to 20 pounds saying it had sufficient bid interest to cover all the shares being sold.
Investors and analysts were concerned, however, about the execution risk related to its plans for rolling out new models: Aston Martin plans to launch a new core model every year from to 2022.
“Aston Martin has very aggressive growth plans. The execution of that growth needs to be flawless — nothing eats cash more than a car company when the cycle turns.
There is concern that it’s more cyclical than the commentary has been,” said James Congdon, managing director of cashflow returns specialist Quest.
“The banks have done a good job for their client — but there’s no bounce.” In 2017, Aston Martin had adjusted earnings before tax interest, depreciation and amortisation of 206.5 million pounds, up from 100.9 million pounds in 2016.
Aston Martin’s closest comparable is Ferrari which listed in 2015 and trades with an enterprise value of 22.2 times EBITDA, according to Refinitiv data.
Based on this metric and Aston Martin’s net debt of 538.8 million pounds, the British carmaker looked slightly expensive in its debut – pricing at 23.6 times EBITDA.
Depending on its price performance, Aston Martin might just make it into the FTSE 100 — the first carmaker in Britain’s blue-chip index since Jaguar.
Its shareholders, which include Italian investment firm Investindustrial and a group of Kuwait-based investors, sold a quarter of its existing stock and is not raising any new money — meaning no funds will be plowed into the firm as a direct result of the listing.
Aston Martin’s poor debut is the latest blow to Europe’s cautious IPO market. — Reuters