Currently reading: Aston Martin's Andy Palmer on stock flotation: Q&A
We speak to Aston's CEO to see what the IPO means to the company

After Aston Martin's long-awaited announcement confirming that it will float on the London Stock Exchange, CEO Andy Palmer talks to Autocar about whether things will change at the 105-year-old British car maker. 

What does an Aston initial public offering (IPO) mean to Autocar readers and the product plan?

In the immediate future, not a great deal. When you go to an IPO, you sell a story. Our plan is well known; seven cars over seven years, with seven-year product cycles, copy, repeat. We’ve now got a level of acceptance that our plan is legitimate and supported by those people buying; they approve of the plan. I’ve been very vocal on the plan; some say it’s very ambitious. City experts look at it next to different companies and the principle of the story, and vote with a valuation.

Ferrari offered an IPO in 2015 and has since doubled in value. Does that give you encouragement?

Ferrari is the only real comparison. It has helped us. Ferrari has shown that a car company can exist and compete in the luxury space and have value. I don’t have to prove it again, as Ferrari has proven it. We’re going further than Ferrari by having a car in all key luxury and high-performance segments; we cover models by Bentley, Rolls-Royce, Lamborghini and Ferrari as a one-stop shop.

Does this leave Aston open to a takeover from another car maker?

We’re actually more vulnerable today. One company has only got to convince one or two shareholders, get them to agree and then they’ve got over half the company. Going public, we have tens of thousands of shareholders, and we’re protected on some effects. You could acquire shares by stealth, but when you get to 3% you’d have to declare. We’re aware of predators, but I’ve said to my team to make the company as valuable as possible so they can’t afford us.

Who would you describe as predators?

Aston has always been a jewel, but we’re quite different now with Daimler as a shareholder [it owns 5% of Aston and supplies it with Mercedes engines and components]. But, with that, we’re a bit of a poison pill; if other car makers come in, Daimler can consider them a rival and not supply parts. Of our initial 25%, we’re looking for long-term investors.

Is the IPO designed to raise money for Aston?

It’s not to raise money for us. All funds are secured and this is more for shareholders to get a return on their investment. It’s also about bringing good governance to the company, so we can have success in our second century. I hope to leave a legacy behind, with an independent chairman and board, a structure that is secure and stops us making the mistakes of the past.

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How significant a day is this for Aston?

This is huge for the company, but also huge for the country. We’ll be the only car company on the FTSE, the only one independent and British-owned. Other car makers are owned by foreign car makers and owners, we’ll be owned by the British public. We hope what we’re doing is something that the country can be proud of, something to give to young engineers and craftsman and give people the same opportunities this industry gave me in 1979.

Mark Tisshaw

Title: Editor

Mark is a journalist with more than a decade of top-level experience in the automotive industry. He first joined Autocar in 2009, having previously worked in local newspapers. He has held several roles at Autocar, including news editor, deputy editor, digital editor and his current position of editor, one he has held since 2017.

From this position he oversees all of Autocar’s content across the print magazine, website, social media, video, and podcast channels, as well as our recent launch, Autocar Business. Mark regularly interviews the very top global executives in the automotive industry, telling their stories and holding them to account, meeting them at shows and events around the world.

Mark is a Car of the Year juror, a prestigious annual award that Autocar is one of the main sponsors of. He has made media appearances on the likes of the BBC, and contributed to titles including What Car?Move Electric and Pistonheads, and has written a column for The Sun.

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Michael Joseph 31 August 2018

Aston's IPO

If Aston didn't plans to go public, I wonder if they still making profit

TheBritsAreComing 30 August 2018


No mention of this in the MSM.

the instigator 30 August 2018

but when you get to 3% you’d have to declare - really !!!

I believe it is 29.99%, so plenty of room for stealth!!!

That said AM is not Ferrari, it has not the pedigree nor racing history nor breadth of market penetration world wide nor the track record for profitability and possibly not the prospects it thinks it has... maybe this is why they will not offer the first bite of shares to their adoring and potentially well interested public world-wide before enabling City sharks to feed first...

performance is fact... and hype is hype... 

CitizenSlide 24 September 2018

the instigator wrote:

the instigator wrote:

I believe it is 29.99%, so plenty of room for stealth!!!

At 3% an organisation must declare the percentage of its voting rights held either directly or indirectly, while at 30% they may be required to make an offer (as per takeover law - FCS's Disclosure and Transparency rules).  So, Andy P's reasoning does indeed stack up..