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Aston Martin keeps financing options open as coronavirus accelerates supply rebalancing

Wholesale volumes almost halved to 578 units, partly due to the destocking strategy, and the average selling price fell to £98,000 from £160,000

Aston Martin Lagonda Global Holdings PLC -

Aston Martin Lagonda Global Holdings PLC (LON:AML) reported a sharp plunge in sales in the first quarter due to the coronavirus crisis but said production of its new SUV is on course for the summer. 

New executive chairman Lawrence Stroll, the billionaire Formula 1 team owner who led a £536mln rescue fundraising earlier this year, hailed progress in his priority of rebalancing of demand and supply, with car dealer inventory down 428 units in the quarter, but said that given the ongoing uncertainties the board “continues to review all future funding and refinancing options to increase liquidity”.

With the gradual reopening of the St Athan factory in Wales beginning last week under new safety and hygiene protocols, production of DBX car-bodies started on Tuesday and was said to be on course to be fully up and running in the next few weeks for deliveries in the summer, with an order book stretching into next year. 

For the first quarter, wholesale volumes almost halved to 578 units, partly due to the destocking strategy, and the average selling price fell to £98,000 from £160,000, meaning revenue fell 60% compared to last year to £78.6mln.

Underlying operating losses increased to £75.8mln from £2.2mln a year ago, with the reported loss before tax swelling to £118.9mln from £17.3mln.

Before the rights issue, net debt ended the quarter at £956.1mln, up from £876.2mln at the end of December. 

Including equity raise proceeds, proforma net debt as at 31 March was £614mln.

The company, which noted that all 18 dealers in China have re-opened and more than 15% of dealers are fully open globally, said all Aston Martin cars will now be built to fulfil order demand only.

The Valkyrie ‘hypercar’ is now scheduled for deliveries towards the end of the calendar year as closure of test facilities impacted the development schedule, while orders are building for the relaunched Vantage model.

“We will progressively re-energise our marketing initiatives and programmes in our major markets as they emerge from the first phases of the COVID-19 environment,” said Stroll.

Aston Martin shares fell 5% by mid-morning on Wednesday to 36.1p, down almost 80% since the start of the year and more than 90% since its IPO in October 2018.

Broker Peel Hunt, a day after downgrading its view on the shares and almost halving volume expectations to 3,100 for the full year, reiterated its forecast for sales to decline to £880mln this year and for an operating loss of £125mln, with analysts saying they see downside risk to this number.

"We expect the operating losses, interest cost and £285m capex this year to largely absorb the proceeds of the recent placing and rights issue. Consequently, ongoing balance sheet concerns will continue to weigh on the share price."

     --Adds detail, share price, broker comment--

Quick facts: Aston Martin Lagonda Global Holdings PLC

Price: 46.8 GBX

LSE:AML
Market: LSE
Market Cap: £855.08 m
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