Could Aston Martin list in Hong Kong?

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Should Aston Martin feel an obligation to list in London rather than Hong Kong? Not perhaps when Chinese sales are likely to drive sales of luxury and performance cars well into the 21st century. No wonder Aston boss Ulrich Bez is mulling a Hong Kong issue, though no advisers have been hired yet.


Licence to sell

Aston Chinese sales remain slight. It still doesn't have an import licence, which would really change things, allowing it to build a dealer network. But boss Bez is aiming for 80% of all sales to go outside the UK. Eventually.

Currently Aston Martin's biggest shareholder is Kuwaiti private equity company Investment Dar, which will likely relinquish its holding over time.

Recent lux listings, including Prada, have been Hong Kong based. And Aston Martin, the recipient of a new $300m investment bond placing, is keen to stress that though its a British-based company, they are also a global business.

Heavy, thirsty, fast

Certainly a listing, which would raise much-needed funds, looks likely within two years. Aston will celebrate its centenary in 2013, so momentum is there on more than one front.

A Chinese factory could also be an option, eventually. Aston recently launched the new Cygnet, based on the Toyota iQ car, in an attempt to widen its product range, desperately currently limited to heavy, thirsty - and very expensive - performance cars.

It is also attempting to get into the lucrative 4x4 market with a new Lagonda model, but the 2009 SUV concept vehicle - ungainly and huge - drew a mixed reaction. Aston's also releasing a revised DB9 next year.

In such mixed circumstances, a Chinese listing might be a shrewd move.

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