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Aston Martin losses soar after parts shortages

Losses at Aston Martin ballooned after shortages of key parts left it with hundreds of unfinished models at the end of the first half of the year.

The luxury carmaker was also hit by foreign exchange movements and higher debt interest payments, during a tumultuous six months in which it changed chief executive and raised additional funds.

Pre-tax losses rose to £285.4mn, compared with a £90.7mn loss in the same six months last year, despite revenues climbing 9 per cent to £541.7mn.

Foreign exchange calculations on the company’s US-denominated debt accounted for £134mn of the loss, while the company also paid out £63mn of cash in interest. Aston is planning to pay down its large debt, which grew to £1.3bn at the end of June from £890mn six months earlier.

The company this month raised £653mn from Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund and in a rights issue to other shareholders which is expected to complete during September.

Half the money from the fundraising will pay back debt, while half will be used to bolster Aston’s cash reserves.

The company’s cash pile was only £150mn at the end of June, a figure described as “dangerously low” by Bernstein analyst Daniel Roeska.

Part of the cash shortfall was the result of supply problems that left Aston with more than 350 near-finished DBX 707 models — the company’s latest SUV iteration — awaiting final parts at the end of June.

The group expects to have a stronger second half, and has not changed its guidance on selling 6,600 vehicles for the year.

Between April and June, the average selling price of its vehicles was £174,000, 15 per cent higher than a year earlier, while the group said its sports cars were sold out for the rest of the year.

Lawrence Stroll, executive chair who led the bailout two years ago, said demand was encouraging, and that the “underlying fundamentals of Aston Martin have never been stronger”.

During the six months, Aston also replaced chief executive Tobias Moers with Amedeo Felisa, the former Ferrari boss.

Felisa said on Friday his immediate focus was on “delivering targets in 2022”, as well as overseeing a change in Aston’s team structure. Scores of employees left during Moers’ tenure.

Aston has also delayed the second part of a Mercedes-Benz deal that allows the UK carmaker to buy parts and technology from the German group.

The next tranche of the deal, which requires Aston to make significant payments to Mercedes if its share price remains low, will now fall in 2024. This gives Aston an additional year to raise its share price, as well as more time to decide what electric kit it wants for its own battery vehicles, which it will launch in 2025.

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