Italian fund buys 37.5% stake in Aston Martin

ROME — Italian private equity fund Investindustrial has bought a 37.5-percent stake in British carmaker Aston Martin, the companies said in a joint statement on Friday.

“Investindustrial is investing 150 million pounds (186 million euros, $240 million) in Aston Martin in the form of a capital increase for a 37.5-percent stake,” the firms said.

The 99-year-old car-maker will get an injection of Italian expertise and much-needed resources to compete with luxury competitor giants such as the Fiat Ferrari.

There had been a bid from Indian jeep maker Mahindra & Mahindra for the stake in the British manufacturer, whose flashy vehicles feature regularly in James Bond movies.

Aston Martin said it would now proceed “with its extensive and exciting plans for sustainable long-term growth”.

The car-maker rose to fame thanks largely to its DB5 sportscar, a favourite of early Bond actor Sean Connery which returned to the limelight in Daniel Craig’s car chase through Italy in the 2008 “Quantum of Solace”.

The company said production would continue to take place in Gaydom in Britain, where 1,600 workers are based.

Andrea Bonomi, senior principal at Investindustrial, said: “We are delighted to form part of this iconic global, but quintessentially British brand.”

Sales at Aston Martin have been hit along with other small car-makers during the global economic slowdown and it had been looking for key funds for research and development.

Aston Martin said it intended to invest “more than half a billion pounds in its new product and technology programme over the next five years.”

The car-maker is owned by Kuwait-based finance firm Investment Dar, which bought it from Ford Motors for $767 million in 2007.

Investindustrial, owned by Italy’s Bonomi family, used to own Italian motorcycle maker Ducati.