Aston Martin has turned to equity funding to help pay down debts as well as fuel investment in future products
The automaker is attempting to raise £650 million ($770 million) and has secured Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund, known as the Public Investment Fund, as a key shareholder—the second largest shareholder, in fact, after Yew Tree, the consortium led by fashion mogul Lawrence Stroll, father of Aston Martin Formula One driver Lance Stroll.
The Saudi Public Investment Fund (PIF), led by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, will purchase £78 million in shares and participate in a £575 million ($681 million) rights offering. Following the completion of the transaction, Saudi Arabia will own 16.7 percent of Aston Martin, trailing Yew Tree’s 18.3 percent but ahead of Mercedes-9.7 Benz’s percent. Saudi Arabia will also gain two seats on the Aston Martin board of directors.
Saudi Arabia has increased its investments in the automotive sector in recent years as it seeks to reduce its reliance on oil exports. The country owns significant stakes in niche brands such as Pagani and Lucid. It is also a significant investor in Uber.
Half of the funds raised will be used to reduce Aston Martin’s debts, which stood at £957 million ($1.13 billion) at the end of March. The remainder will be used for product development as well as to build a cash reserve to provide liquidity to the company in the event of an economic downturn.