Geely of China in talks about taking Aston Martin stake, FT says

John Bowker

Zhejiang Geely Holding Group Co. of China has held talks with management and investors in Aston Martin Lagonda Global Holdings Plc about taking a stake in the U.K. carmaker, the Financial Times reported.

Aston Martin shares jumped as much as 20%, and traded 13% higher at 460.00 pence as of 4:29 p.m. in London. The stock has declined almost two thirds over the past 12 months.

The company said last month it was in talks with potential investors, and this week showed the depth of its financial troubles by reporting a severe decline in profit in its first full year as a listed company.

Geely is conducting due diligence, the FT said Friday, citing unidentified sources. A technology partnership is also a potential outcome of talks, the British newspaper said.

Alongside declining profit, Aston Martin is facing the prospect of raising additional debt funding in the next four weeks, which may bring its total outstanding debt to over 1 billion pounds. Those borrowings may be unsecured, increasing borrowing costs.

In December, industry magazine Autocar reported that Canadian fashion billionaire Lawrence Stroll was planning a bid for the company.