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Aston Martin investment talks gather pace

Racing Point F1 team owner could sink Β£200m into brand as Geely mulls possible Lotus tie-up

By Matt Bird / Monday, January 13, 2020

In what's described as a "final effort" according to Automotive News, Aston is seeking investment from Lawrence Stroll - the Canadian owner of Racing Point Formula 1 team. This comes in addition to talks reportedly taking place with Geely, as Aston attempts to recover after its stock plummeted in value and a profit warning was issued last week.

It's rumoured that Stroll is willing to put up £200m as part of a capital increase by Aston Martin, primarily to fund production of the imminent DBX and reduce the company's debt burden. The company has already taken out a £120m loan, of course, and qualified for a subsequent £80m when it hit 1,400 orders for the SUV - although those sums come accompanied by interest rates of 12 and 15 respectively.

As for the Geely role, the Chinese firm sees potential in a tech-sharing agreement between Aston and Lotus. Apparently "preliminary discussions" have taken place, though Geely has thus far refused to comment. Additional reports are also suggesting that Contemporary Amprex Technology, a Chinese battery maker, might be interested, though there's been no word from them yet either. Of those owners with a significant stake already - Investindustrial and Adeem control more than 60 per cent - it's believed that the former will participate in a capital increase.

There has been a statement from Aston, which is unsurprisingly non-committal: "We remain in discussion with potential strategic investors in relation to building longer term relationships which may or may not involve an equity investment". Doesn't really say much, does it?

So, there's still much to be decided as far as this saga goes. That said, the matter is only growing more urgent, with reports that the firm's total outstanding debt might already extend beyond a billion pounds. With projects like the Rapide-E being cancelled, plus those like the Lagonda and mid-engined hypercars looking very far off, it seems action is required sooner rather than later.

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