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Aston Martin hits the skids as it falls to £100mln loss; CFO exits

The luxury carmaker also confirmed the firs tranch of £500mln rescue deal agreed with a consortium led by Canadian billionaire Lawrence Stroll

Aston Martin Lagonda Global Holdings PLC - Aston Martin hits the skids as it falls to £100mln loss; CFO exits

Aston Martin Lagonda Global Holdings PLC (LON:AML) has seen its finance chief head for the door after the luxury carmaker tumbled to a loss of over £100mln in its 2019 results.

The FTSE 250 group said Mark Wilson will step down from the role no later than 30 April and will remain with the group to assist with the transition until 30 June.

READ: Aston Martin rescued by F1 mogul Stroll in £500mln deal

Wilson’s departure accompanied results for the year ended 31 December, which reported a pre-tax loss of £104.3mln compared to a £68.2mln loss in the prior year as revenues slipped 9% to £997.3mln amid a 9% decline in wholesale volumes to £5.8bn.

Looking ahead, Aston Martin said it will “reset” its business in 2020 “in order that it can start to operate as a true luxury car brand”.

The firm warned that its adjusted earnings (EBITDA) for the current year will be “almost entirely” weighted to the second half and would be significantly dependent on the rollout of new models and special editions.

Aston also warned that the ongoing coronavirus outbreak could impact “both the supply chain and customer demand” in China, its fastest growing market, although it stressed that there had currently been no impact on production.

Andy Palmer, the company’s chief executive, said 2019 had been “an extremely challenging period” for the firm and had led to “severe liquidity pressures” necessitating a £500mln fundraising originally unveiled at the end of January.

“We are focused on turning around performance, restoring price positioning by operating a pull vs push model, reducing dealer inventories to a luxury norm and delivering a more efficient operational footprint”, Palmer said.

Rights issue confirmed

In a separate announcement, the company unveiled a rights issue to raise £317mln as the first tranche of the £500mln rescue plan agreed last month with a consortium led by Canadian billionaire and F1 backer Lawrence Stroll.

The tycoon will become executive chairman once the deal completes.

As part of the transaction, the luxury car group will raise £500mln through share issues with Stroll also providing a £55.5mln short-term loan.

A placing will raise £182mln at 400p per share and give Stroll a 16.7% stake. In total, the Stroll consortium will invest around £235mln.

Meanwhile, existing major shareholders Prestige/Strategic European Investment Group (SEIG) and Adeem/Primewagon will take part in the rights issue but their holding will reduce to 50.5% from 61%.

Fundraising may not be large enough, says analyst

AJ Bell’s Russ Mould said that the results were “as ugly as you can get” for the company and that arguably the scale of the £500mln fundraise “isn’t large enough” to solve Aston Martin’s problems.

“This may be all the company thinks it is capable of raising in the near-term, but there seems a big risk it will have to go cap in hand to shareholders again in the not too distant future. New strategic investor and incoming executive chairman Lawrence Stroll may have underestimated the scale of Aston Martin’s financial problems. Let’s hope he has deep pockets”, Mould said.

In mid-morning trading on Thursday the shares slumped 13% to 340.1p.

--Adds analyst comment and updates share price--

Quick facts: Aston Martin Lagonda Global Holdings PLC

Price: 47.2 GBX

Market: LSE
Market Cap: £860.93 m

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