Italian fund denies seeking to raise stake in Aston Martin: Reuters

Italy’s Investindustrial is not in talks to increase its stake in Aston Martin and no decision has been taken on a possible stock market listing for the British carmaker, the private equity group said, denying an earlier newspaper report.

Italian daily Il Messaggero had reported on Sunday that the fund was in advanced negotiations to raise its stake in the maker of the famous sports car driven by fictional secret agent James Bond to 50 percent from 37.5 percent by the end of the year and that it aimed to list the company next summer.

The report had added that the fund, led by founder Andrea Bonomi, was to buy shares from other stakeholders, including a consortium of Kuwaiti investors, which currently holds 54.5 percent, Daimler (DAIGn.DE) and the group’s management.

A London-based spokesman for Investindustrial denied the report. “Because of the recent good performance of the Aston Martin business, none of the shareholders want to sell,” the spokesman said.

Aston Martin last month said it was on course to post its first annual pretax profit since 2010, helped by strong demand for the luxury automaker’s DB11 sports car.

There are no discussions on ownership structure at the moment, the spokesman said, adding that the situation could change in the future “given it is a private equity fund and it might eventually want to monetize (its) assets.”

He also said that no decision had been taken about a possible initial public offering (IPO).

Aston Martin said in an email to Reuters that it did not “have any comment to make on this speculation”.

The group’s Chief Executive Andy Palmer has repeatedly said that the decision and timing of an IPO were matters for the shareholders but that it made sense for them to consider the option before the end of the company’s turnaround plan, which is due to complete in 2022.