Aston Martin prepares to go public as turnaround picks up speed

Aston Martin Vanquish Zagato Speedster

Luxury automaker Aston Martin prepares to float on the London Stock Exchange, finishing a turnaround for the once perennially loss-making company that could now be evaluated at up to 5 billion pounds ($6.4 billion).

The 105-year old firm, known for building the sports car driven by fictional secret agent James Bond, would be the first British automaker to list in London for years, after the sale of brands including Jaguar and Bentley to foreign owners.

The initial public offering (IPO), which follows Italian competitor Ferrari’s New York flotation in 2015, could see Aston evaluated at up to 5 billion pounds, sources informed, after it extended its model line-up and production.

The firm, which in 2017 made its first profit since 2010 and has gone bankrupt seven times throughout its history, said on Wednesday the IPO would involve a sale of shares by its major owners, Kuwaiti and Italian private equity groups, with at least 25 percent of the stock to be floated.

It stated it had submitted a registration document with Britain’s Financial Conduct Authority, a necessity for companies considering an IPO, at a time when the likes of Tesla boss Elon Musk have criticized the additional pressures of being listed.

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

The automaker hopes to finish the flotation this year, the same target that British Prime Minister Theresa May is collaborating on to agree a deal for leaving the European Union.

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