Press Report : Kuwaiti wealth fund struggles to refinance Aston Martin debt

Alun Thorne, Birmingham Post, 29th September, 2009

Warwickshire-based luxury car firm Aston Martin is at the centre of new fears as the Kuwaiti wealth fund that owns half of the company admitted it was struggling to refinance its debt.

Reports said Kuwait’s Investment Dar had confirmed it had signed an agreement with creditors and investors to freeze claims and provide more time to agree a deal.

Aston Martin was sold by Ford in the summer of 2007 with a consortium led by racing tycoon David Richards, investment banker John Singers, Investment Dar and Adeem Investment emerging as buyers.

The deal was valued at £480 million and Kuwait Investment Dar’s share was financed by banks which had reportedly agreed a $393 million sharia-compliant loan. At the time the Dar said: ‘The purchase of Aston Martin is central to our strategy of diversifying our holdings in key markets and international brands.”

The Kuwaiti group has now announced a new bid to shore up support after it defaulted on a $100 million Islamic bond in April. A statement said: ‘The consenting banks and investors will, for the duration of the standstill agreement, suspend individual claims relating to investment arrangements.” The standstill agreement is expected to run until the 31st December, 2009.

[Source: Birmingham Post]

Clive Goldthorp

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