Aston Martin boss says Brexit delay would prolong uncertainty

February 28, 2019

By Costas Pitas

LONDON (Reuters) – A delay to Brexit would be a “further annoyance” which would prolong uncertainty, the boss of luxury carmaker Aston Martin told Reuters after Prime Minister Theresa May promised to give lawmakers a vote on extending the date Britain leaves the EU.

Many firms have been triggering contingency plans on the assumption that Britain will leave the European Union on March 29, though a delay could scupper the timing of those preparations.

Aston Martin, which has authorized up to 30 million pounds ($40 million) worth of contingencies, has been boosting the level of components it holds.

Lawmakers will vote on whether to delay Brexit on March 14, just over two weeks before the scheduled departure date.

“I would categorize it as a further annoyance,” said Chief Executive Andy Palmer.

“You’re holding that contingency stock for longer which means that your working capital is tied up for longer.”

“More importantly, what you’re doing is you’re creating continued uncertainty,” he said.

Shares were down 11 percent at 12.20 pounds at 0803 GMT.

Aston Martin, which floated on the London Stock Exchange last year and is boosting its volumes and building its first sport utility vehicle at a new factory, posted on Thursday a 26 percent rise in 2018 volumes and a 25 percent increase in revenues.

Adjusted pre-tax profits fell 7 percent to 68 million pounds ($90 million) before one-off costs related to its initial public offering.

The company said that if some one-time pension-related credits were stripped out of 2017’s figures, adjusted pre-tax profit would have risen in 2018.

Britain’s once-soaring car industry is now recording falling sales, investment and production, with Honda delivering the most serious blow earlier this month, announcing the closure of its British factory. Output fell 18.2 percent last month.

(Reporting by Costas Pitas; editing by Guy Faulconbridge)

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