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Consortium wovw to enhance British icon


A consortium led by British motorsport high-flyer David Richards and including American businessman John Sinders, and Kuwaiti companies, Investment Dar and Adeem Investment, has bought famed British sports car maker, Aston Martin.

The deal, announced last week, ends Ford’s almost 20-year ownership of the marque.

The consortium is described as “a group of sophisticated investors who are committed to the brand, its success and existing business plan which envisages growth, profitability and new products, including the much acclaimed four door concept Rapide, shown for the first time at the Detroit
Auto Show in 2006.”

With the full support of the investors, exiting chief executive, Dr Ulrich Bez, will lead the management team into the new era.

Since his appointment in 2000, Bez has overseen a period of growth and investment, steering Aston Martin to its status in the world luxury sports car market.

During the past six years, the company has seen a tremendous change with new headquarters, new products, a successful motorsport programme and a strong corporate identity through an expanding dealership network.

Richards, founder and chairman of motor racing and rallying company Prodrive, will join the Aston Martin board as non executive chairman.

Richard’s Prodrive is involved in Formula 1, Australian V8 Supercars, the Subaru works rally team, and sports car racing among other activities.

He says the consortium’s purchase of Aston martin is “an incredible opportunity. Aston Martin is one of the world’s most iconic brands. We’re confident we now have all the right ingredients to take Aston Martin to even greater heights.”

John Sinders, a banker in finance and shipping from Houston, Texas and Dubai UAE, is an Aston Martin owner who has a great affection for the brand on both road and track.

Investment Dar, a Kuwaiti company, is the largest listed investment company in the Gulf. It owns and manages a group of companies including banking, finance, investment and asset management, real estate, insurance, banking, and logistics. Investment Dar has total assets of $US3.66 billion, with net income of $US317.3 million in 2006.

Adeem Investment is a Kuwaiti company which owns companies in the banking and finance, real estate and hotels, transport and logistics, food and telecoms industries. It has become the fastest growing investment, corporate finance and asset management company in Kuwait with assets under management in excess of $US1.5 billion.

“This new partnership is a tremendously exciting opportunity for Aston Martin,” says CEO Bez. “Under the ownership of Ford, we’ve become a successful, profitable company and I will be working with the new owners to build on this great foundation. It is a new beginning which will give the company the opportunity to attain an even higher level of excellence.

“This next stage in the company’s history promises to be the most exciting yet.

David Richards and I have a great deal of mutual respect for each other and we are equally passionate about realising the brand’s full potential.”

Aston Martin will remain at its high-tech factory at Gaydon in Warwickshire, England, where 1800 employees work.

Aston Martin was founded in 1914 by Lionel Martin and Robert Bamford.

Its current line-up includes the V8 Vantage, DB9, DB9 Volante and Vanquish S and V8 Vantage Roadster. Just around the corner is the high-performance DBS model.

It has a network of 126 dealers in 27 countries, including New Zealand where it is marketed by Independent Prestige in Auckland.

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