STOCK WATCH: Aston Martin unveils the firm’s first ever SUV… but would 007 approve and will it boost the share price?
This is make or break week for Andy Palmer as the Aston Martin chief executive unveils his secret weapon: the company’s first SUV.
James Bond’s favourite car maker has had a torrid time since it was floated a year ago with ambitions to join the ranks of the FTSE 100.
Its shares have plunged from £19 on flotation in October last year to £5 on Friday. Short-sellers have sniffed blood, cashing in on several disappointing updates and a loss of investor confidence.
Boss Andy Palmer who has run Aston Martin since 2014, will hope the launch of the DBX on Wednesday could spark a change in fortunes
But Palmer, who has run Aston Martin since 2014, will hope the launch of the DBX on Wednesday could spark a change in fortunes. The DBX, which will cost £158,000, is the firm’s first sports utility vehicle and he hopes it will attract a slightly different audience to the traditional supercar fan, including female drivers.
Last week, analysts at HSBC were optimistic about the launch and said the DBX’s orderbook could be the ‘ultimate catalyst’ for the shares.
Aston must reveal when it reaches 1,400 orders as a condition of its debt issue and HSBC thinks this could be reached within the first few months. Could the DBX then prove Palmer’s saving grace?
It’s been a tough old year for travel companies, thanks to Brexit uncertainty, faltering consumer confidence and industrial action.
But easyJet, which reports its full-year results on Tuesday, may be a beneficiary of the woes of its rivals – with British Airways and Ryanair hit by strikes and Thomas Cook going under after 178 years.
Some gossips are now suggesting that easyJet chief Johan Lundgren, formerly of TUI, could make a bold move into package holidays.
‘Whether this is a wise move is open to debate,’ notes CMC Markets’ Michael Hewson, ‘as the collapse of Thomas Cook proves’.
A float worth watching later this month is Longboat Energy, a new venture set up by the former team at Faroe Petroleum who lost their jobs when it was snapped up by Norway’s DNO at the start of the year in a £640 million hostile deal.
Longboat wants to raise £10 million initially on AIM and sources say it has its eye on three production assets in the North Sea. It then wants to go after exploration assets, potentially in the Norwegian North Sea.
That means Longboat may come up against DNO in future oilfields auctions, which could be an intriguing battle given the acrimonious takeover tussle.
Tim Martin, boss of JD Wetherspoon, took aim at shareholder advisory services last week for urging investors to vote against some of the pubs group’s directors for being in situ too long.
He even targeted two of his major shareholders, Columbia Threadneedle and BlackRock, claiming they voted against the re-election of some directors even though they too had directors who had served for more than nine years.
BlackRock hit back and defended its own record. But the US firm is a critic in more ways than one. It happens to have a short position in Wetherspoon, meaning it bets against the shares. Don’t tell Tim.
Contributor: William Turvill