Warwickshire prestige car maker Aston Martin is reportedly in advanced talks with potential investors over an injection of capital.
Two potential investors - Indian automotive company Mahindra & Mahindra and Italian private equity fund Investindustrial - are understood to be vying for a 40 per cent share of the business .
A flurry of reports in the financial and automotive press say Aston Martin’s third-quarter presentation to bondholders described the talks as being “at an advanced stage”, suggesting a deal could be imminent.
According to Autocar the presentation stated: “Aston Martin, with the support of its shareholders, confirms that discussions are at an advanced stage to secure a capital increase which will ensure it can deliver its medium and long-term growth plans.”
Reports have also suggested Mahindra & Mahindra made a higher offer than one made by Investindustrial, which had been agreed with Aston’s major shareholder the Kuwaiti investment house Investment Dar.
It is thought the deal would be for a 40 per cent stake, rising to 50 per cent, for around £250 million.
The Birmingham Post recently revealed Mahindra & Mahindra was in the running to snap up a major stake in Aston Martin, with Tata Motors, Toyota and potential Chinese buyers also thought to be interested.
Although a high level industry source said talks had taken place with Jaguar Land Rover owners Tata Motors, the firm was not understood to be a front runner.
Speculation has been rife for more than a year that Aston Martin was on the market but the firm has continually scotched rumours and again recently said it was “not for sale”.
The trade union Unite has called for any new investment to be ploughed into the development of new models in a bid to safeguard the jobs of the 1,800 workers based at the firm’s Gaydon site.
Unite regional officer, Tim Parker said: “We are seeking detailed information from Aston Martin’s management and the firm’s owners, Investment Dar of Kuwait about the prospect of new investment money.
“We would like any financial investment to be used for the benefit of the UK business to secure both the long-term future of Aston Martin and for our members employed there.”
Aston Martin was bought by Investment Dar, David Richards, John Sinders and Kuwait-based Adeem Investment from Ford in 2007 for £479 million
The firm posted a pre-tax loss of £4.3 million last year. It also returned production of its Rapide vehicle from Austria to Gaydon earlier this year, incurring a £2.8 million hit in the process.
Aston Martin revealed significant growth in sales to the crucial Asian market in 2011, despite slipping into the red, after seeing sales to Asia increase by 48.5 per cent to £66 million.