FILE PHOTO: An Aston Martin DB11 car is seen during the 87th International Motor Show at Palexpo in Geneva
JOHANNESBURG - Aston Martin Holdings Ltd surged to its third consecutive quarterly profit on robust demand for the new DB11 sports car, putting the UK automaker in a better position for a potential share sale, even as Brexit clouds its longer-term outlook.

The company, whose high-end sports cars featured in James Bond films, has been eliminating jobs and expanding its model range to reverse six years of losses.

In a bid to follow a trail blazed by Italian rival Ferrari NV, the Gaydon, England, car-maker could consider an initial public offering on the London Stock Exchange as early as next year, people familiar with the matter said in May.

A stock sale is “a natural point of speculation” given Aston Martin’s ownership structure, Chief Financial Officer Mark Wilson said on Friday. Any decision would have to be by the closely held company’s shareholders and not the management board, he said

The owners include Italian private equity company Investindustrial SpA and a Kuwaiti investment consortium, while Mercedes-Benz parent Daimler AG owns a small stake. Aston Martin posted pretax earnings for the second quarter after delivering more autos and charging customers more for them, and “there’s a possibility, an increasing possibility, that we might be able to report a profit on a full-year basis this year already,” Wilson said.

At the same time, government talks on the UK’s exit from the EU pose “a big unknown” for long-term trade issues such as tariffs the carmaker might face. Generating positive cash flow might take slightly longer than returning to profit, even though Aston Martin made substantial progress in the first half of the year, the CFO said.

Chief Executive Officer Andy Palmer, who took charge three years ago, is pushing to widen the brand’s appeal. Second-quarter pretax profit was £15.2 million (R255m) compared with a £52.6m loss a year ago, as revenue almost doubled to 222 million (R3.4bn). 

- BLOOMBERG