Ratings upgrade strengthens flotation speculation at Aston Martin

Speculation over a possible flotation of sports car manufacturer Aston Martin has gathered momentum after a major financial services group upgraded the Warwickshire company’s credit rating.

S&P (Standard & Poor’s) Global Ratings has upgraded the Gaydon-based business and its senior secured notes to ‘B’ from ‘B-minus‘. This comes on the back of a consistent improvement in the manufacturer’s operating and financial performance.

In 2017, Aston Martin delivered record revenues, with profits growing by £250m as unit sales exceeded 5,000 for the first time since 2008.

Mark Wilson, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, Aston Martin said: “Following a landmark financial year for Aston Martin, this credit rating upgrade is recognition that Aston Martin continues to deliver successfully on the Second Century Plan and exceed expectations.”

S&P Global Ratings said: “The company’s operating results for 2017 were significantly stronger year over year and better than we expected. The company was also able to generate positive free operating cash flow one year earlier than expected.”

Speaking at the Geneva International Motor Show last week, Aston Martin President and CEO, Dr Andy Palmer said the turnaround of the company was now complete and that the business was entering an exciting phase of its Second Century Plan, which he said offered compelling growth opportunities.

The DB11 has enjoyed strong demand across the V12, V8 and new Volante variants, the new Vantage has been revealed to critical acclaim and the next model under the brand’s Second Century plan, the replacement to the Vanquish, is on schedule to be revealed later this year.

In addition, the company is advancing its plans for an electric vehicle programme and its new crossover model is set to enter production next year following completion of the new manufacturing facility at St Athan in Wales.