Andy Palmer, chief executive officer of Aston Martin Lagonda Ltd., poses for a photograph while sitting inside the company's DB11 sports car after a Bloomberg Television in Tokyo. Photographer: Kentaro Takahashi/Bloomberg
INTERNATIONAL - Aston Martin Holdings (UK) Ltd. is preparing to sell shares to the public after the brand synonymous with U.K. spymaster James Bond pulled off a multi-year turnaround.

INTERNATIONAL - The British maker of sports cars in movies from “Goldfinger” to “Skyfall” is said to target a valuation of as much as 5 billion pounds ($6.4 billion), capturing a luxury-brand premium similar to that enjoyed by Ferrari NV. A decision on whether to move forward with the London listing will take place by next month, Aston Martin said Wednesday in a statement.

The offering will allow the luxury carmaker’s existing shareholders to cash in, though it won’t provide the company with additional funds -- even as Aston Martin seeks to double output to around 14,000 cars a year and invests in electric vehicles. The listing, made possible by a turnaround under Chief Executive Officer Andy Palmer, would also test investor optimism in the country’s post-Brexit automotive industry.

“Clearly there’s a great comparator out there and it’s Ferrari,” Chief Financial Officer Mark Wilson said in a phone interview. “We’re going for a premium listing.”

Ferrari trades at about 36 times its estimated 2018 earnings, compared with about 7.3 times forecast profit for members of the Stoxx Europe 600 Automobiles & Parts index.

A badge sits on the steering wheel of an Aston Martin DB11 luxury automobile at an Aston Martin Lagonda Ltd. showroom in Singapore, on Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2017. Aston Martin is looking for clarity from the U.K. government's Brexit negotiations within six months as the luxury sports-car maker seeks to avoid trade tariffs. Photographer: Ore Huiying/Bloomberg


Lifting Production

Palmer, a former executive at Nissan Motor Co. who took over the top job at Aston Martin in 2014, has focused on introducing new models like the coming DBX sports utility vehicle due next year and the popular $200,000 DB11. He also plans to revive the Lagonda supercar brand with a range of electric vehicles focusing on the ultra-luxury segment with SUVs and sedans. Production rates have lifted to the highest level since the 2008 financial crash, and will rise to as many as 7,300 cars next year.

The 105-year-old company said it will file a registration document with the U.K. Financial Conduct Authority on Wednesday, a new requirement for companies considering an IPO, and will decide by about Sept. 20 whether to proceed, it said. Separately, Chinese electric carmaker NIO Inc., which started selling cars in China late last year, said it’s planning a U.S. share sale that would give it a valuation topping $8 billion -- highlighting the sector’s quickening transformation to electric vehicles.

Controlled by Investindustrial Advisors Ltd. and Kuwaiti Investment Dar, Aston Martin said existing investors will sell shares in the IPO, leading to about 25 percent of the company’s stock trading on the London Stock Exchange.

Neither investor plans to exit completely, Palmer said in a June interview. Mercedes-Benz maker Daimler AG, which a 4.9 percent holding, plans to keep its stake in the potential listing.

Deutsche Bank AG, Goldman Sachs International and J.P. Morgan Securities Plc are arranging the sale. Lazard is financial adviser to the company.

Aston Martin also reported first-half earnings. Key points:

Revenue up 8% to 445 million pounds DB11 coupe, DB11 Volante demand helps boost result Adj. EBITDA up 14 percent to 106 million pounds 2018 deliveries expected between 6,200 to 6,400 cars.

- BLOOMBERG