MARKET REPORT: Aston Martin stuck in slow lane

MARKET REPORT: Aston Martin Lagonda says annual profits will be £15m lower than thought after it ships just ten of its Valkyrie hypercars

Aston Martin Lagonda said annual profits will be £15m lower than thought after it shipped just ten of its Valkyrie hypercars. 

The company was expected to have delivered 25 of the new models by now with the road cars costing £2.2m and track cars £2.6m. 

But it has struggled with delays – hitting profits in 2021. 

Lower profits: Aston Martin said total sales rose 82 per cent to 6,182 cars last year ‘as planned

Bosses insisted it was just a ‘timing’ issue with all the Valkyries it plans to build sold and allocated to customers. 

This includes 150 Valkyrie coupe road cars and 85 of the Spider variant as well as 25 Valkyrie AMR Pro track cars. 

Despite the delay to Valkyrie shipments, Aston Martin said total sales rose 82 per cent to 6,182 cars last year ‘as planned’. 

The company’s DBX SUV, on which it has pinned a long-awaited recovery, is selling well, with more than 3,000 units shifted last year. 

Cash balance at the end of the year for Aston Martin will now be £420m, which is higher than expected. 

Shares accelerated 6.6 per cent, or 90.5p, to 1461p. Executive chairman Lawrence Stroll said: ‘The evidence is there that our strategy is working, as retail sales are well ahead of wholesales supported by strong pricing and improving residual values. It is a very long time since the core business was in such good health as it is today.’ 

He added that the company has also benefited from returning to Formula One ‘which has significantly increased our brand exposure, perception and desirability’. 

Shares in car dealership Lookers were also on the rise as a pandemic-fuelled boom in demand for new and second-hand vehicles put it on course for record profits. 

The company said it expects to post an underlying pre-tax profit above market expectations of £82m for the year to December. Lookers plans to resume paying dividends as a result of the profit performance. Chief executive Mark Raban said: ‘2021 was an exceptional year for 

Lookers and we now expect to beat our previous estimates with record profit for the year.’ 

However, it also told investors there is uncertainty over the availability of new vehicles and highlighted rising costs. Shares rose 5.6 per cent, or 3.9p, to 73.9p. 

After a nervy start to the year on global stock markets amid worries over Covid as well as rising inflation and interest rates, the FTSE 100 rose 0.5 per cent, or 34.91 points, to 7485.28 while the FTSE250 fell 0.3 per cent, or 63.67 points to 23353.25. 

All eyes were on US jobs figures as investors sought clues as to the likely path of interest rates as the world’s largest economy continues its recovery from the pandemic. 

So-called non-farm payrolls – a key measure of the number of Americans in work – rose by 199,000 in December. But this was well below the rise of 444,000 expected. On a more positive note, however, the unemployment rate fell from 4.2 per cent in November to 3.9 per cent while wages were up. 

Richard Flynn, managing director at Charles Schwab UK, said: ‘For the second month in a row, new job figures have underperformed expectations. However, falling unemployment and rising wages will be welcomed.’ 

Back in London, a rise in commodity prices was behind a rally in mining stocks with Anglo American up 2.9 per cent, or 93p, to 3257p, BHP gaining 2.7 per cent, or 60.5p, to 2305.5p and Rio Tinto better by 2.6 per cent, or 134p, at 5212p. Rio was given an extra boost as analysts at Berenberg advised clients to buy the shares. 

ITV was heading in the other direction, down 0.6 per cent, or 0.7p, to 114.3p, after Morgan Stanley cut its target price on the shares to 110p from 140p and changed its rating on the stock from ‘overweight’ to ‘equal weight’.

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