James Bond’s Favorite Carmaker Is Trimming Back Its IPO

October 1, 2018, 11:04 AM UTC

Aston Martin pared back its supercharged stock-market ambitions ahead of a planned initial public offering this week, lowering the top end of its targeted range by about 11%.

The new goal is 18.50 to 20 pounds ($24-$26) per share, the luxury car maker said Monday in an emailed term sheet. Previously, the company had set a range of 17.50 to 22.50 pounds, as it seeks a valuation higher than its only listed rival, Ferrari NV.

Books are covered at the new range, the company said, with trading set to begin on Oct. 3 on the London Stock Exchange.

Aston Martin, made famous in the James Bond movies, would still reap a market value of about 4.54 billion pounds ($5.9 billion) at the high end. Analysts had previously shown skepticism the manufacturer, based in Graydon, England, would reach its previous goal of as much as 5.07 billion pounds. The new range brings it closer to parity with Ferrari, which has shown a history of strong profitability and cash generation, and has a more robust balance sheet.

Shareholders are cashing out months before the U.K. leaves the European Union. While the U.K.’s post-Brexit automotive industry is one of the sectors most exposed to potential trade hurdles, the company is “well insulated” in the case talks break down and Britain leaves the bloc without a trade deal, Palmer said last month.

Based on its first-half earnings, Aston Martin could be valued at 21.8 times adjusted Ebitda if it reaches the high end of the new range. The calculation doesn’t take into account Aston Martin’s debt and R&D spending, which would push the multiple higher. Ferrari trades at about 20.9 times its expected adjusted Ebitda for 2018, based on Bloomberg data — a figure that is closer to luxury good companies than to carmakers.

Even at the lower figure, Aston Martin’s IPO marks a dramatic win for its shareholders who are set to reap a 10-fold increase in less than a decade. When Andrea Bonomi’s Investindustrial bought a 37.5 percent stake in 2012, the carmaker was valued about £400 million, Palmer said in an interview last month. The Italian Bonomi, who owned motorbike maker Ducati before selling it to VW in 2012, will keep a stake in Aston Martin after the IPO.

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