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Companies round-up

Aston Martin; Rolls-Royce; Morrisons; UBS

Aston Martin DB11

Aston Martin: disappointing year

Luxury car manufacturer Aston Martin Lagonda said the challenging trading conditions highlighted in November continued through the peak delivery period of December resulting in lower sales, higher selling costs and lower margins.

Issuing a profits warning for the year, it said it now expects adjusted EBITDA to be £130m-£140m with an associated margin of 12.5-13.5%.

It said on 13 December that it is reviewing its funding requirements and the various options.

The company also remains in discussions with potential strategic investors which may or may not involve an equity investment.

Shares in the company opened 9.82% lower at 469.6p.

Dr Andy Palmer, Aston Martin Lagonda President and Group CEO, said: “From a trading perspective, 2019 has been a very disappointing year. Whilst retails have grown by 12%, our best result since 2007, our underlying performance will fail to deliver the profits we planned, despite a reduction in dealer stock levels.

“We are taking a series of actions to manage the business through this difficult period. This will include a cost saving programme alongside a focus on returning dealer stock levels to those more normally associated with a luxury company; winning back our strong price positioning is a key focus.

“The signs from the launch of the DBX are very encouraging and the order rate seen to date is materially better than for any of our previous models. Launch plans are progressing well and we are achieving all of our key operational milestones. Start of production remains on track for Q2 2020.

“Whilst we are disappointed with trading performance in 2019, our focus is now on revitalising the business, launching DBX and ensuring profitable growth in the medium-term.”

Rolls-Royce

Rolls-Royce sold a record 5,152 luxury vehicles last year – a 25% increase on 2018’s 4,107 which was also a record.

The sales tally is the highest in the marque’s 116-year history. Significant sales growth has been recorded in all regions worldwide.

Cullinan, the brand’s new SUV, has made a major contribution to sales growth.

The company has invested significantly in its manufacturing plant at its Goodwood base including 50 jobs created to meet expanded global demand and a record number of Apprenticeship Programme recruits.

Torsten Müller-Ötvös, CEO, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars, said: “This performance is of an altogether different magnitude to any previous year’s sales success.”

Morrisons

Supermarket chain Morrisons has reported a 1.7% fall in like-for-like sales, excluding fuel, for the 22 weeks to 5 January.

There was no growth in its wholesale business which supplies goods to McColl’s, the convenience shop chain, and Amazon.

Morrisons said what while it increased sales “with most of our customers”, like for like sales were impacted by lower trade at McColl’s.

But it said that sales at 10 McColl’s shops it had converted to Morrisons Daily convenience stores are “strong” and it will extend the programme to a further 20 shops early this year.

The company said: “Throughout the period, trading conditions remained challenging and the customer uncertainty of the last year was sustained.”

UBS

Swiss bank UBS is cutting 500 jobs amid a reorganisation of its wealth management business, according to Bloomberg.



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