Aston Martin shares down 20% after profit guidance cut

Aston Martin’s year went from bad to worse on Wednesday as bosses admitted sales of their luxury cars have been weaker than expected.

The company, which joined the stock market last year, said economic uncertainty in the UK and Europe was keeping customers from buying its cars, although sales in the Americas were strong.

Investors piled out in response, sending shares down 242.8p, or 23.5%, to 792.2p in early trading.

Bosses now believe sales through the wholesale division will be between 6,300 to 6,500 vehicles, compared with previous predictions of 7,100 to 7,300.

Chief executive Andy Palmer (Aston Martin/PA)

Profit margin predictions have also been cut, with underlying figures now expected to be 20% instead of 24% and adjusted operating profit margins of just 8% versus 13% previously guided.

Spending will also be cut from between £320 million and £340 million to £300 million.

The company said: “The challenging external environment highlighted in May has worsened, as have macroeconomic uncertainties.

“We anticipate that this softness will continue for the remainder of the year and are planning prudently for 2020.”

Retail sales have improved – up 26% in the first half of the year – with production for Aston Martin’s first sports utility vehicle, the DBX, and its Valkyrie car on track.

In the UK, wholesales fell to just 565 cars in the first half of the year, compared with 683 in the same period last year. This was exacerbated by a 22% fall in the second quarter.

Sales in America were up 54% to 700 vehicles sold wholesale, but Europe, the Middle East and Africa was down 19% to 490, versus 607 previously.

An Aston Martin Valkyrie
Aston Martin hopes its new Valkyrie car will help improve sales (Aston Martin/PA)

Andy Palmer, Aston Martin chief executive, said: “We are disappointed that short-term wholesales have fallen short of our original expectations, but we are committed to maintaining quality of sales and protecting our brand position first and foremost.”

The company has struggled to win over the City since joining the stock market last year.

Shares were 1,900p in October when the company joined the stock market, making it one of the worst performing flotations of the last year.

There had also been heavy criticism over the cost of the float, after bosses revealed it cost £136 million to list the business.

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