Aston Martin shares in reverse as annual losses balloon
Shares in Aston Martin tanked Thursday after James Bond's favourite carmaker said net losses nearly doubled last year on weak global demand -- and warned over the potential impact of coronavirus.
Losses after tax accelerated to £113.2 million ($147 million, 135 million euros) in 2019, Aston said in a results statement. That compared with a loss of £62.7 million in 2018.
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The flagging automaker said it sold 5,862 cars last year, down nine percent on 2018, adding that chief financial officer Mark Wilson was leaving the group.
"2019 was an extremely challenging period for the company," said chief executive Andy Palmer, who last month unveiled a £500-million cash injection that will see Aston Martin become a formula one racing team.
"While retail sales grew, we were unable to generate the revenue and profits we had originally planned," Palmer added Thursday.
Revenues fell to £997 million from almost £1.1 billion.
It warned also over the possible impact of the new coronavirus or COVID-19 outbreak in key market China -- which was its star performer in 2019.
"COVID-19 has the potential to impact both the supply chain and customer demand in China and other markets," the company said.
"China was the company's fastest growing market in 2019 and represented nine percent of total wholesales."
Aston indicated it had seen only modest disruption from some component manufacturers in China, but none of its "tier 1 suppliers" manufacturered there.
"Despite some disruption to supply of some components from China, there has been no impact on production. Supply is secured until at least end March," it added.
The results sent Aston's share price sliding 14.1 percent to 335.80 pence in morning trade on the London stock market.
"Full year results from Aston Martin are as ugly as you can get," said Russ Mould, investment director at AJ Bell.
"Sales have gone into reverse and profit has evaporated. Worst of all is the scale of its borrowings. Its net debt position of £876 million is nearly as much as the entire year's revenue."