Aston Martin is targeting a valuation of between £4bn and £5bn when it lists its shares on the London Stock Exchange next month, as the British luxury carmaker aims for a similarly racy earnings multiple to Ferrari.
The shares will be priced between £17.50 and £22.50 each, and will begin trading on October 3, the company has announced. The top end of the range would put Aston on 24 times 2017 earnings; Ferrari trades at 22 times.
“We have seen almost unprecedented investor interest,” Andy Palmer, chief executive, told the Financial Times.
“This has always been part of the dream to put a car company back on the FTSE 100, and we’ll be the only car company in the index since Jaguar de-listed almost 30 years ago.”
To qualify for the FTSE 100 on today’s prices, Aston would need a market capitalisation of more than £4.7bn.
Listing its shares marks the end of a remarkable turnround for the company that has been bankrupt seven times during its history.
Mr Palmer said the indicated price was close to 10 times what the company’s Kuwaiti backers paid to buy the business from Ford in 2007, when the company was bought for £470m.
Under Mr Palmer’s leadership, the group formed a business plan that sees it launch a new car every year for seven years, before renewing its entire product line-up, and has already launched three of the cars — the DB11, the Vantage and the DBS — from the plan.
Much of its valuation hinges on Aston successfully launching the DBX next year, the first sport utility vehicle in the brand’s history. Aston seeks to cash in on the demand for high performance luxury SUVs that has seen Maserati and Lamborghini enter the market.
Mr Palmer, who joined Aston in 2014 from Nissan, where he was head of planning, said the car was “our first SUV as a company, but it’s not my first SUV, and for most people in the team it’s not their first SUV”.
He added: “The business plan is fully funded, so it all now comes down to product execution, which is what I’ve done all my life.”
About 25 per cent of Aston’s shares will be sold in the offer, with the option to sell a further 10 per cent. The company is not raising new equity.
Aston’s current owners Italian group Investindustrial and Kuwaiti funds Adeem Investment and Primewagon will be subject to a 180 day lock-up.
Members of the Aston Martin Owners Club who live in the UK will be invited to take part in the offering.
Mr Palmer announced he was creating a foundation to offer industrial apprenticeships to young people in the UK from underprivileged backgrounds. The Palmer Foundation is backed by his personal funds as well as funding from some of Aston’s executives and shareholders.