Aston Martin says it will miss 2021 earnings target

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Aston Martin warns stock market of missed target as first customer Valkyries are belatedly delivered.

Aston Martin has issued a trading update to the stock exchange warning that it anticipates missing its EBITDA (earnings before depreciation, and amortisation) target by around $28m for 2021 as a result of delays readying the Valkyrie hypercar for production.

Describing the hypercar project as “challenging” and noting that it was “inherited” when he led a consortium buying into the firm in 2020, executive chairman Lawrence Stroll highlighted that production had now begun, and that ten customer cars were delivered prior to the end of last year.

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Aston’s trading statement said: “This was fewer than previously planned and accordingly adjusted EBITDA is anticipated to be c.£15m (AUD$28.4m) lower than expected. The impact is timing only, all Aston Martin Valkyrie Coupés are sold and remain allocated to customers with significant deposits”.

The statement also noted that customer demand for the Valkyrie Spider was double the allocation of cars that will be built, and that the income from the Valkyrie project is delayed rather than lost as a result of the ongoing demand for the cars.

However, Stroll and CEO Tobias Moers highlighted the positive steps taken by Aston Martin in 2021, including growing wholesaled cars 82 per cent to 6182, including 3001 DBX SUVs, and noting that supply was lower than demand, removing the need to discount and protecting residuals. The latter was highlighted as a significant failing of the company prior to Stroll taking ownership.

“I am extremely pleased that our core business has delivered to plan with over 6000 core wholesales in the year while driving inventory to levels that are appropriate for an ultra-luxury business,” said Stroll. “The evidence is there that our strategy is working, as retail sales are well ahead of wholesales supported by strong pricing and improving residual values. It is a very long time since the core business was in such good health as it is today.

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“We have achieved an enormous amount and are well on track with our transformation of Aston Martin into one of the greatest ultra-luxury brands in the world with new leadership, partners and products, and our return to Formula One, which has significantly increased our brand exposure, perception and desirability.”

Moers added: “Our core business delivered as planned while navigating a challenging external operating environment. We are achieving strong pricing and closed the year with dealer stock at optimum levels aligned to our business approach.”

Aston’s fortunes contrast with those of Bentley, which yesterday announced it sold 14,659 cars last year, a rise of 31 per cent over 2020, itself a record year.

Jim Holder

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