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Aston Martin holds talks with investors


Iconic British car manufacturer Aston Martin is reportedly locked in "advanced" talks with groups looking to invest in the company.

Speculation has surrounded the brand in recent weeks, with offers believed to have been submitted by the Italian private-equity fund Investindustrial and Mahindra & Mahindra, an Indian tractor producer.

Aston Martin's have been popular with UK motorists and car insurance policy holders for decades, with the classic DB5 model featuring in the most recent James Bond film.

A spokeswoman for the car company told The Independent about the nature of the negotiations, saying, "We are in talks for a capital increase. The company was not for sale and our existing shareholders, Investment Dar, are very much committed to Aston Martin."

It has been reported that Investindustrial tabled a bid of £250 million for half of the company, whilst Mahindra & Mahindra is believed to have made a similar offer for 40 percent of the firm that would eventually rise to 50 percent at a later date.

Aston Martin, which celebrates its 100th anniversary next year, was sold to Investment Dar in 2007 for £479 million in a deal fronted by former F1 Benetton boss Dave Richards. The group aimed to increase sales in Asia and China however the recent financial crisis hit the company hard, with sales tumbling in Britain and the US.

The news comes as bond credit rating agency Moody's warned that the sports car manufacturer could have its rating further downgraded. A weak third quarter and deteriorating liquidity means that Aston Martin's £304 million debt could become further unsustainable, with new investment urgently needed.


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