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Aston Martin shares plunge to new low as carmaker slumps to half-year loss

London

SHARES in Aston Martin plunged 17 per cent to a post-flotation low on Wednesday after the luxury British carmaker slumped to a half-year loss, the latest automotive firm to be hit by falling demand in Europe.

Aston Martin, best known as James Bond's favourite marque, has been undergoing a turnaround plan since chief executive Andy Palmer took over in 2014, designed to renew and boost its model line-up and move into new segments. The plan led to an autumn 2018 stock market flotation.

But its shares have since fallen by around three quarters from their £19 (S$31.65) float price to below £5, hit most recently by the group's weak performance in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, where half-year demand fell by nearly a fifth.

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The group posted a pre-tax loss of £78.8 million in the six months through June from a £20.8 million profit in the first half of 2018. Its shares were down 17 per cent at £4.71 by 0748 GMT.

Aston has been hit by expansion costs as it builds a new factory in Wales and a lower average selling price. It also faces the risk of a disorderly Brexit disrupting its wholly British production, as delays at ports due to new bureaucracy could slow down the movement of vehicles and components. REUTERS