Luxury carmaker Aston Martin swings to Q3 loss as volumes drop

Aston Martin CEO Andy Palmer is upbeat on the DBX model. (Reuters)
Updated 07 November 2019

Luxury carmaker Aston Martin swings to Q3 loss as volumes drop

LONDON: Luxury British carmaker Aston Martin swung to a third quarter loss on Thursday, saying its full-year wholesale volumes would be lower than previously guided after slumping demand in Europe and Asia.

Volumes to dealers fell 16 percent to 1,497 cars in the three months to the end of September as demand in Europe, the Middle East and Africa area dropped 17 percent and Asia was down by a third, hit by weak demand for the company’s Vantage model.

The 106-year company, famed for being fictional agent James Bond’s brand of choice, is taking action to cut costs and hopes the launch of its first sport utility vehicle, the DBX, at a new factory in Wales, will boost performance next year.

“We’re essentially holding the cost of a complete factory right now without the benefit of the revenues coming in ... so from that point of view of course it’s a really important model,” said Chief Executive Andy Palmer.

Aston, based in Gaydon near Birmingham, posted a £13.5 million loss in the three months to the end of September, but said it still expects to meet market expectations of core earnings at around £203 million ($261 million). 

BACKGROUND

• The 106-year firm, famed for being fictional agent James Bond’s brand of choice, hopes the launch of its first sport utility vehicle, the DBX, will boost performance next year.

The global automotive industry has undergone a torrid year, hit by declining sales in China, trade war worries between the world’s two biggest economies, a slump in diesel sales in Europe and the need to invest heavily in electrification. 

But Aston has also suffered since its flotation in October last year when shares launched at £19 ($24.50) before dropping for months and languishing at between £4 and £5 for the last few weeks. 

Earlier this year, the company announced it was raising $150 million in debt at a 12 percent interest rate to bolster its balance sheet ahead of the launch of the DBX.  

On Thursday, Aston said its net interest expense guidance for 2019 now stood at around £83 million, also affected by the impact of unhedged expenses in US dollars, with prior guidance at roughly £70 million. 

Aston said it could thrive on its own alongside its work with German carmaker Daimler, which has a small stake in the firm.


Arab News recording exposes Nissan lawyer’s lie on IMF bailout for Lebanon

Updated 01 June 2020

Arab News recording exposes Nissan lawyer’s lie on IMF bailout for Lebanon

LONDON: Arab News has published the recording of an interview with a Nissan lawyer after he denied saying that a bailout of Lebanon by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) was linked to the extradition of fugitive tycoon Carlos Ghosn.

The former Nissan chairman fled to Beirut in December from Japan, where he faced charges of financial wrongdoing.

In a story published in Arab News Japan on Saturday, Sakher El Hachem, Nissan’s legal representative in Lebanon, said the multibillion-dollar IMF bailout was contingent on Ghosn being handed back to Japan. 

The lawyer said IMF support for Lebanon required Japan’s agreement. Lebanese officials had told him: “Japan will assist Lebanon if Ghosn gets extradited,” the lawyer said

“For Japan to agree on that they want the Lebanese authorities to extradite Ghosn, otherwise they won’t provide Lebanon with financial assistance. Japan is one of the IMF’s major contributors … if Japan vetoes Lebanon then the IMF won’t give Lebanon money, except after deporting Ghosn.”

On Sunday, El Hachem denied making the comments. “The only thing I told the newspaper was that there should have been a court hearing on April 30 in Lebanon, but it was postponed because of the pandemic,” he said. In response, Arab News published the recording of the interview, in which he can be clearly heard making the statements attributed to him. 

Japan issued an arrest warrant after Ghosn, 66, escaped house arrest and fled the country.

Now listen to the recording: