Canadian takes role as executive chairman, confirms F1 plan for 2021, brings in investors including Mercedes F1 boss Toto Wolff.
Canadian billionaire Lawrence Stroll has formally taken up his role as executive chairman of Aston Martin Lagonda, having completed his purchase of a 25% stake in the firm.
In addition, it has been revealed that Stroll’s consortium has passed on some of its shares to two further investor consortiums, one of which is led by Mercedes F1 team principal Toto Wolff.
In January, Stroll’s investment fund had agreed to take a 16.7% stake in Aston Martin for £182 million (AUD$357 million), at a price of £4 (AUD$7.85) per share. The deal, first reported by Autocar, also included a £318 million (AUD$624 million) cash infusion through a new rights issue, for a total of £500 million (AUD$981 million).
However, given Aston’s dramatically reduced share price in the interim, Stroll and his fellow investors have radically reworked the agreement to take on a quarter of Aston’s shares. “In the midst of the most challenging environment, globally, that any of us have ever experienced, all of my and the management team’s energies will now be dedicated to building on the inherent strengths of the company, its brand, engineering, and the skills of its people to forge the foundations of a bright future,” said Stroll.
Stroll also re-iterated the firm’s plans to build profits initially, principally by fulfilling pre-orders for the DBX, which are said to number more than 2500 cars, and by reducing supply to meet demand, in order to add make its current sports car range more desirable.
“In this first year we will reset the business,” said Stroll. “Our most pressing objective is to plan to restart our manufacturing operations, particularly to start production of the brand’s first SUV, DBX, and to bring the organisation back to full operating life.
“We will continue to focus significant effort and investment into the continued development of our range of mid-engined cars. These are a crucial next stage in the expansion of our product line-up. Descended from the awesome Aston Martin Valkyrie hypercar, the Valhalla and Vanquish are set to position Aston Martin firmly in this sector and complete our range of highly engineered and beautiful sports cars.
“In the longer term we intend to commit to producing electric cars to combine performance and luxury with environmental sustainability.”
Stroll also re-emphasised his plans to enter Aston Martin in Formula 1 from 2021, describing it as a crucial marketing platform for the brand. He currently owns the Racing Point F1 team, which his son, Lance, drives for and which will be rebranded. He has previously been linked to a deal with the Mercedes-AMG F1 team, should the firm decide to withdraw from F1.
However, all parties stressed that Wolff’s involvement as the head of another investment consortium was in a private role, and not related to any involvement in either Mercedes’ or Aston Martin’s F1 plans. Mercedes is a minority shareholder in Aston Martin, as well as supplying parts to the firm.
Aston Martin’s production facilities remain shutdown at present, as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.