Aston Martin targets return to profitability in 2018

Aston Martin CEO Andy Palmer peers down the lines of a display model of a AM-RB 001 ahead of the 2017 Canadian International Autoshow. (Reuters)Aston Martin CEO Andy Palmer peers down the lines of a display model of a AM-RB 001 ahead of the 2017 Canadian… Read More
TORONTO: Aston MartinHoldings Ltd expects a return to profitability in 2018, as the now money-losing luxury automaker plans to boost revenues with renewed versions of its sports cars, chief executive Andy Palmer said on Wednesday.

The British automaker, whose sports cars were popularized by James Bond films, is investing heavily to update existing models and develop several new vehicles through the end of 2019, including its first SUV, and the 2 million pound ($2.5 million) to 3 million pound ($3.7 million) Formula 1-inspired AM-RB 001, the most expensive new car ever built by Aston Martin.

“You’ve got a complete renewal during the course of 2018 of the sports cars,” Palmer told Reuters on the sidelines of the Canadian International Auto Show in Toronto.

Unlike other luxury sports car brands, which are part of mass-volume auto groups and can benefit from economies of scale,

Aston Martin remains independent, Palmer said.

“We have to amortize the R&D (costs) on a small volume,” he said. “That’s what justifies the car being expensive.”

The carbon fiber AM-RB 001, which is being developed with Red Bull Advanced Technologies for expected delivery in 2019, is using Canadian composite specialist Multimatic as a supplier, Palmer said. All 150 cars have been sold, with another 25 to be manufactured as a separate variant for the track.

Palmer said one of Aston Martin’s highest volume models will be its DBX SUV, which when delivered in late 2019 would compete with the Bentayga produced by Bentley Motors Ltd, a division of the Volkswagen Auto Group.

Pickups and SUVs accounted for 59.5 per cent of U.S. auto sales in 2016, up from 55.8 per cent in 2015, and North American appetite has prompted luxury makers such as Rolls Royce and Lamborghini to come out with new SUV models.

Palmer said Aston Martin expects to build between 4,000 to 5,000 SUVs a year.

“We don’t want to go to big volume,” he said. “It’s basically high price, low volume, exclusivity.”

Aston Martin, which is to publish its 2016 financial figures at the end of February, is held by Kuwait’s Tejara and Italy’s Investindustrial. The private equity firms hold an equal voting stake, he said.

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Daimler has a 5 per cent stake in Aston Martin in return for access to certain technologies for connected and autonomous cars

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Martin Shkreli hit with $4.6M IRS tax lien

ow much would Martin Shkreli pay for the rights to the Beatles’ song “Taxman”?

The pharma bad boy Shkreli might find it a bit tougher to afford that old tune nowadays after getting slapped by the IRS with a new lien for $4,628,928 in unpaid taxes.

Martin Shkreli, former CEO of Turing Pharmaceuticals, departs the U.S. Capitol after appearing before a House Oversight and Government Reform hearing on "Developments in the Prescription Drug Market Oversight" on Capitol Hill in Washington Feb. 4, 2016..

Joshua Roberts | Reuters
Martin Shkreli, former CEO of Turing Pharmaceuticals, departs the U.S. Capitol after appearing before a House Oversight and Government Reform hearing on “Developments in the Prescription Drug Market Oversight” on Capitol Hill in Washington Feb. 4, 2016..

The tax agency whipped up that lien against Shkreli’s property in midtown Manhattan on Dec. 18, a day after he was arrested by the FBI on federal securities fraud charges.

The IRS actually filed the lien Jan. 11 with the Office of the City Register in New York, according to the website Gawker.com, which first reported the lien.

The vast majority of Shkreli’s unpaid taxes, $4.625 million, was incurred in 2014, according to a copy of a filing on record at the register’s office that Gawker posted online.

Another $3,431 in unpaid taxes were incurred in 2013, according to the lien.

Gawker noted that the lien, whose amount reflects taxes, interest and penalties, was filed because “we had made a demand for payment of this liability, but it remains unpaid.”

The lien gives the IRS the right to its cut of any proceeds of a sale of Shkreli’s property. The lien does not identify the source of income that Shkreli owes taxes for.

Source: Office of the City Register, NYC, via Gawker.com

“I have no comment,” said Shkreli’s high-powered criminal defense lawyer Benjamin Brafman, when asked about his client’s tax lien.

Shkreli has said he is innocent of the criminal case, in which prosecutors claim he looted his former pharma company Retrophin to pay off investors he was suspected of previously defrauding in a hedge fund he ran.

Last week, during a hearing in that case in Brooklyn federal court, it was revealed that Shkreli’s E-Trade account, which had been used to secure his $5 million release bond, had dramatically fallen in value. That account, which had held $46 million when it was used to secure the bond in January, since had fallen to about $4 million, federal prosecutors revealed.

The steep drop was due to the plunge in price of the stock of KaloBios Pharmaceuticals, whose shares comprised the majority of the E-Trade account. Shkreli briefly ran KaloBios after obtaining a controlling share of the company, but was booted as CEO after he was indicted. KaloBios’ stock tanked on the heels of his arrest.

Ironically, Shkreli’s tax lien has come to light at the same time he brazenly offered to buy Kanye West’s forthcoming album “The Life of Pablo” for $10 million if the superstar singer agreed to “sell this recording solely to me.”

“My offer is not subject to a financing condition and I had discussed this offer with several investment banks and counsel which would assist me in this acquisition,” Shrekli wrote West, according to a letter that Shkreli posted Thursday on Twitter.

Shkreli has a habit of spending big for the music of his favorite performers. Last year, it was revealed that he had plopped down $2 million to buy the sole copy of the Wu-Tang Clan album “Once Upon a Time in Shaolin.”

Since then, he has engaged in an ongoing beef with Wu-Tang Clan rapper Ghostface Killah, who, among other things, called out Shkreli for raising the price of an anti-parasite drug by more than 5,000 percent last summer.

Shkreli’s company Turing Pharmaceuticals raised the price of that drug, Daraprim, from $13.50 per pill to $750 per pill after buying the medication last year. Shkreli stepped down as CEO of Turing after his indictment.

[“source -pcworld”]