Chinese join Saudi Arabia as leading investors in Aston Martin

Chinese join Saudi Arabia as leading investors in car manufacturer Aston Martin as it seeks to shore up its finances

The Chinese have joined Saudi Arabia as leading investors in car manufacturer Aston Martin as it sought to shore up its finances. 

Car maker Geely took a near-8 per cent stake in James Bond’s favourite marque, becoming the fifth-biggest investor.

And Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund now holds 18.7 per cent of the firm, and is the second-biggest shareholder. 

The investments were part of a £654m fundraising to bolster Aston’s balance sheet and support its investment in hybrid and electric models. 

Heavily discounted shares were sold to existing investors, 94 per cent of whom bought into the offering. Mercedes-Benz and US asset manager Invesco also took part.

The money will pay off debt and beef up a war chest as Aston faces a ‘challenging operating environment’ – war in Ukraine, lockdowns in China and supply chain disruption. 

It will also invest in future models including the Valhalla hybrid supercar. Aston floated four years ago in London at 1900p but shares fell 4.7 per cent, or 5.95p, to 119.5p. 

Aston executive chairman Lawrence Stroll said that he was ‘delighted’, adding: ‘This transformational capital raise significantly strengthens our financial position and enhances our pathway.’ 

Geely is China’s biggest carmaker and owns European brands including Sweden’s Volvo and Norfolk-based Lotus. Its offer to invest in Aston this summer was rejected but chief executive Daniel Donghui said it will be providing support with its technology capabilities. 

The Saudi fund is controlled by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and is known for its controversial takeover of Newcastle United football club. It also has a stake in British supercar maker and F1 team owner McLaren Group.