By Costas Pitas
LONDON (Reuters) – Carmaker Aston Martin, which has changed its boss and brought in a billionaire investor this year after a weak performance, posted on Wednesday a deeper first-half loss of 227 million pounds ($293 million) amid a slump in sales.
Its main factory, which closed during the lockdown, is not due to reopen until the end of August as the firm focussed on resuming production at a new site in Wales, where its first sport utility vehicle, the DBX, rolled off the line this month.
Popular for being James Bond’s carmaker of choice, the firm has had a difficult time since floating in 2018 as it failed to meet expectations and burnt through cash, prompting it to give a stake to a consortium led by billionaire Lawrence Stroll.
Since then it has announced job cuts, reduced inventories and picked a new chief executive and new finance boss among a series of changes, while it is also responding to the pandemic which contributed to a 41% drop in sales.
“It has been a challenging period with our dealers and factories closed due to COVID-19, in addition to aligning our sales with inventory with the associated impact on financial performance as we reposition for future success,” Stroll said.
The firm’s half-year pre-tax loss of 227 million pounds compares to a loss of 80 million pounds in the same period last year. Revenue fell by nearly two thirds to 146 million pounds.
Aston’s first 4×4 is central to its turnaround plans as it enters a lucrative segment of the market in a bid to widen its appeal, including to more female buyers.
“We’re pleased with how its developing,” finance chief Ken Gregor told Reuters.
($1 = 0.7741 pounds)
(Reporting by Costas Pitas; Editing by Alistair Smout and Edmund Blair)