Aston Martin close to IPO on the London Stock Exchange

There may be a stock offering on the NYSE, too

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According to a report from Sky News, Aston Martin is close to announcing plans to go public with an IPO on the London Stock Exchange. A listing on the New York Stock Exchange has also reportedly been considered. In December of last year, news broke that the company's owners had hired financial advisory firm Lazard to prepare for a potential offering.

The report suggests that the British automaker is looking at an offering of $1.29 billion (£1 billion) in shares and an overall company valuation of around $6.44 billion (£5 billion). An Intention To Float statement could be filed as early as next week, says Sky.

Last year was good for Aston Martin, with a total of 5,117 vehicles sold globally, a 58 percent jump from 2016. The company reported pre-tax profits of nearly $112 million (£87 million) in 2017. And it is working on a flurry of new products such as the Valkyrie supercar, an upcoming SUV, the new DBS Superleggera (shown above), and even an ultra-exclusive, real-life James Bond gadget-laden DB5.

As of right now, Aston Martin's largest investors are I taly's Investindustrial and Kuwait's Investment Dar. Daimler also holds a sizable stake.

Aston said it had filed a registration document with Britain's Financial Conduct Authority, a requirement for firms considering an IPO, at a time when the likes of Tesla boss Elon Musk have slammed the additional pressures of being listed.

Pending a final decision from the FCA, a prospectus will be published on or around Sept. 20 as the maker of sports cars that can cost hundreds of thousands of pounds hopes to tap into global demand from wealthy buyers who want a slice of the high-end brand.

The carmaker hopes to complete the flotation this year, the same target that British Prime Minister Theresa May is working towards to agree a deal for leaving the European Union.

Aston sells roughly 25 percent of its cars to the EU and operates its only plant in Gaydon, central England, with a second one due to begin operations in Wales in 2019.

"We can demonstrate that Brexit is not a major effect for us," Chief Executive Andy Palmer told Reuters.
"If there is a tariff into Europe, it's countered by a tariff into the UK for our competitors so you might lose a little bit of market share in the EU but you pick it up in the UK," he said.

Niche carmakers such as Aston and McLaren are more concerned about customs checks than tariffs as they believe many of their buyers can absorb a price hike.

Like many British-based carmakers, it imports parts from Europe including German-made engines, which could face delays at ports in the event Britain crashes out of the EU without a deal. Palmer said the firm had increased its stock in preparation for any eventuality.

Aston Martin, which has licensed its name for use on apartment blocks and even a submarine, hopes to follow Ferrari by using its exclusivity to appeal to investors.

Aston, which forecasts full-year volumes will rise to between 6,200 and 6,400 vehicles, aims in 2019 to match its recent sales high of roughly 7,300 cars achieved in 2007, just before the financial crisis.
The firm then languished for several years as sales slumped and it failed to invest adequately in new models, spending most of 2014 without a boss before Palmer's appointment.

Since then, the firm's main shareholders have invested 200 million pounds as part of a plan to update its model lineup, produce new lower emissions vehicles and make its first sport utility vehicle (SUV), which is due next year.

It projects volumes will reach nearly 10,000 units in 2020.

Material from Reuters was used in this report.

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