Mahindra hopes for quick Aston Martin deal

Nov 27 2012, 09:36 IST
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Mahindra hopes for quick Aston Martin deal. (Reuters) Mahindra hopes for quick Aston Martin deal. (Reuters)
SummaryAston Martin could be partly owned by the Mumbai tractor moguls by the end of the week.

but doesn't add anything to their tractor or India portfolio.

Shares in Mahindra fell more than 3 percent on Monday.

Investors will be wary of the risk of trophy acquisitions that a tempting, vanity brand like Aston Martin might pose. Its machines have most lately been on display in the new James Bond blockbuster Skyfall, being promoted globally in recent weeks.

Movie fan Anand Mahindra, whose family company is one of India's biggest businesses, studied film before going on to take his MBA at Harvard and has plenty of cash at his disposal with a corporate debt-to-equity ratio of 0.29 at the end of March.

But Ashvin Chotai, managing director of consulting firm Intelligence Automotive Asia in London, said: Aston Martin technology is so far beyond anything that Mahindra is doing at the moment that it's hard to see any synergies either way.

The main thing Mahindra would bring to Aston Martin is money and maybe resources. But they're not bringing a lot of experience.

Invstment Welcome

For Aston Martin, analysts say, sales of only 4,200 cars last year and tight margins mean that a boost of investment would be welcome to refresh its model range and, notably, build new engines as new European Union emissions criteria loom ahead.

We view this bid with caution as we believe the latter will require significant investments in R&D and benefits of technology transfer to M&M's product portfolio is questionable given little similarity between portfolios, Indian brokerage Edelweiss Securities said in a research note.

Costs including research and development and sales account for about 25 percent of sales at Aston Martin, compared with 12-14 percent at luxury car rivals such as BMW, Jaguar Land Rover and Daimler, a Barclays report said.

Large investments could be required to expand product portfolio and distribution reach, the report said.

One voice speaking up in favour of Mahindra was that of the Unite trade union representing workers at Aston Martin.

We are in favour of a deal that secures the future of the company and injects capital, said Tim Parker, a regional officer for the union. We have doubts about private equity because of the reputation the private equity industry has with regards to cutting costs. We are more positive on the Indian company which has a reputation and a stake in the industry.

Mahindra has had mixed success in its overseas forays. It pulled the plug this year on plans to roll out a pickup truck in the United

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