Friday, February 08, 2008


Aston Deal Taps Islamic Cash
By Tara Loader Wilkinson

Two Kuwaiti buyout groups have financed the acquisition of Aston Martin, which makes James Bond's transport of choice, with £225 million ($441 million) of debt compliant with Islamic law -- believed to be the first of its kind for the acquisition of a Western company.

The syndicated loan, which closed Thursday, has an eight-year maturity and pays investors 2.95 percentage points over the six-month London interbank offered rate. If investors don't exercise an option to sell the debt in the fifth year, the margin increases to 3.45 percentage point over Libor. The loan is a so-called Murabaha sale, in which ...


Reuters Summit-Aston Martin owners plan to build luxury brand
By John Irish and James Cordahi

DUBAI, Feb 5 (Reuters) - Aston Martin could co-operate with Daimler AG's Mercedes on ventures ranging from engines to new models, the British luxury carmaker's majority shareholder, Kuwait's Investment Dar, said on Tuesday.

Adham Charanoglu, business development manager for Investment Dar, which bought Aston Martin from Ford Motor Co last March, said it had held talks with Mercedes and with LVMH's Louis Vuitton and PPR's Gucci on branded merchandising.

Charanoglu told the Reuters Islamic Finance Summit that plans to overhaul Aston Martin merchandising had yet to be finished but included opening new centres dedicated to the marque -- made famous by James Bond -- in the UK, the Gulf and possibly the U.S.

Any brand development would need to be at the top end of the luxury market, with opportunities stretching from apparel, owners' events and track racing to real estate, Charanoglu said, adding Aston Martin's merchandising revenue would rise from $100 million in 2006 to more than $300 million by 2009.

Investment Dar and its partners in Aston Martin, former Benetton and BAR racing boss David Richards and financier John Sinders, were looking to increase production to up to 8,000 cars in 2008 to 2009, from 7,000 a year in 2007, Charanoglu said.

This would begin to approach capacity levels of 9,000 at the Gaydon plant, where the Aston Martin is built, and Charanoglu said it was possible that new models or components could be produced in the future at factories elsewhere.

But Charanoglu said production would continue in the UK.

"Whatever has been produced in the UK will continue to be produced in the UK," said Charanoglu, sporting a pin-badge of the famous Aston Martin wings on his lapel.

"(It) has to be UK handmade," he added of the Aston Martin, whose models sell for upwards of 190,000 pounds ($375,200) and whose customers have to wait more than a year for delivery.
"If you have the money, you have to wait. Otherwise you will not feel attached to your car," Charanoglu said.

Aston Martin sales in the Middle East would be increased from around 300 as the new owners overhauled the dealer network, ending contracts with existing dealers in the region and working with new partners who would be asked to become shareholders in a new company, with merchandising and branding rights in the Gulf.


Pertinent Links:

1) Aston Deal Taps Islamic Cash

2) Reuters Summit-Aston Martin owners plan to build luxury brand

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