MARKET REPORT: Shares in Aston Martin speed into reverse

MARKET REPORT: Shares in Aston Martin speed into reverse as luxury car maker says hundreds of supercars have been left unfinished

Shares in Aston Martin sped into reverse yesterday as the luxury car maker said hundreds of supercars had been left unfinished. 

More than 350 are awaiting parts, as it blamed the supply chain problems on lockdowns in China and war in Ukraine. 

The problems dented sales and led to a loss of £285m for the first half of this year – more than the £213m the group lost in the whole of 2021, on top of £466m in 2020. 

Driven to distraction: More than 350 are awaiting parts, as Aston Martin blamed the supply chain problems on lockdowns in China and war in Ukraine

The results explain why the company had to go cap-in-hand to Saudi Arabia for a £650m cash injection this month. 

The Saudi Arabia Public Investment Fund is now the second largest shareholder, behind the 22 per cent stake held by Canadian billionaire Lawrence Stroll. 

Stroll said: ‘The first half was not without its challenges. 

‘Isolated but impactful supply chain shortages, particularly in the second quarter, resulted in lower wholesales and significant working capital headwinds. Specifically, we ended June with more than 350 cars we had planned to deliver in the quarter still awaiting final parts, consuming tens of millions in cash and temporarily limiting our ability to meet the strong demand we have.

‘We have now started to deliver these vehicles in July.’ 

Shares in the James Bond favourite rose 0.6 per cent, or 2.8p, to 478.4p. The stock has fallen 66 per cent so far this year. 

The FTSE 100 was up 1.1 per cent, or 78.18 points, at 7423.43 and the FTSE 250 climbed 1.6 per cent, or 309.71 points, to 20,164.90. 

Gains were being made by Scottish Mortgage Investment Trust following strong earnings reports from Apple and Amazon on Thursday. Amazon is Scottish Mortgage’s seventh-largest holding. 

While Scottish Mortgage does not own Apple shares, the iPhone maker’s better-than-expected earnings have boosted the sector as a whole. Its shares were up 3.2 per cent, or 26.4p, to 862p. 

Another notable gainer was Glencore, which lowered its guidance for copper production but is still expected to report record profit next week, driven by surging thermal coal prices and record trading returns. 

The world’s largest commodity trader was slapped with £1.2billion of penalties for bribery and corruption this year, but investors hope the worst is behind it. Shares were up 2.8 per cent, or 12.5p, to 461.85p 

AstraZeneca hiked its revenue forecast for the year after strong demand for its Covid antibody treatment and cancer medication. The pharmaceutical giant said it expects a Covid injection to help drive sales of at least 20 per cent for the year. Nevertheless, the shares fell 0.2 per cent, or 26p, to 10,844p as it revealed a 53 per cent decline in operating profits to £1.15billion for the first six months of the year. Current board executive Michel Demare will take over as chairman. 

BT fell 0.03 per cent, or 0.05p, to 161.8p at news that Virgin Media O2 has created a venture with French infrastructure investor InfraVia Capital Partners to build between 5m and 7m fibre connections across Britain, investing £4.5billion in the network. It will be 50 per cent-owned by Liberty Global and Telefonica, and 50 per cent by InfraVia. 

The deal is expected to close this year and marks efforts by the newly formed group to take on telecoms behemoth BT. 

Further down the market, Rightmove revenue and profits rose in the first half of the year, as it said activity on its site had been resilient. The UK’s largest online property platform took in £162.7m in sales over the six months to 30 June, up 9 per cent on 2021. 

It came as Rightmove said it has seen little reduction in sales activity and demand. It fell 0.8 per cent, or 5.2p, to 639.6p.