Iconic British carmaker Aston Martin plans to squeeze in its IPO before Brexit

The DB10 from James Bond film “Spectre” gets a polish.
The DB10 from James Bond film “Spectre” gets a polish.
Image: Reuters/Hannah McKay
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James Bond’s beloved car brand announced today that it plans to float on the London Stock Exchange later this year. It reportedly expects a valuation of around £5 billion ($6.4 billion) and is expected to list a 25% stake in the company.

The IPO would cross the finish line not long before Britain’s time as an EU member runs out—it will officially quit the bloc at the end of March.

CEO Andy Palmer warned in March that that if Britain didn’t reach a good Brexit deal, the window to list the company could close for at least a year after leaving the EU. “When you’re going through any kind of sale or IPO what you’re looking for is market stability,” Palmer told Reuters. In the run-up to Brexit day, the road could get bumpy as the post-divorce arrangements between the UK and EU take shape (or not, as the case may be).

Some analysts think that a £5 billion valuation is high, as it would value the company at 20 times estimated 2019 earnings. “Not cheap, by any metric, even when compared to Ferrari,” Arndt Ellinghorst, of London-based brokerage Evercore ISI, told the Wall Street Journal (paywall).

Aston Martin has gone bankrupt seven times since it was founded in 1913, but has performed well of late, posting seven consecutive profitable quarters. It said revenues were up by 8% (paywall) in the first half of the year, to £445 million, and operating profit jumped by 14%, to £106 million. The luxury carmaker was sold by Ford in 2007 for £480 million to a consortium controlled by Investindustrial Advisors and Kuwait-based Investment Dar.

Chief financial officer Mark Wilson told Bloomberg that Brexit “is simply a speed hump in the road. Aston Martin has existed for 105 years, it has seen a hell of a lot of upheaval in that time.” Just think of all those car chases.