Volvo’s Planned IPO Stalls, But Aston Martin To List

Some old brands make headway while others not so much.

Swedish car maker Volvo parked its planned initial public offering as investors balked at the price tag, but Aston Martin—the maker of sports cars driven by James Bond in the 007 movies—moved forward with plans to list at least 25% of its shares on the London Stock Exchange (LSE) in October.

The official reason given by Volvo for shelving its long-planned IPO was that it was worried about rising global trade tensions. Volvo’s owner, China’s Zhejiang Geely Holding, hoped that the flotation would value the firm at about $30 billion, but rising trade tensions and a downturn in the auto market reduced estimates to half that value. Geely bought Volvo from Ford Motor in 2010 for $1.8 billion, marking China’s biggest acquisition of a foreign car maker.

“We have come to the conclusion that the timing is not optimal for an IPO right now,” Volvo CEO Håkan Samuelsson told the media in September. The listing could still take place in the future.

The Aston Martin IPO will be one of the few large British flotations to go forward before March 2019, when the UK is expected to leave the EU. Andy Palmer, president and CEO of the car maker, said that even a bad Brexit involving tariffs would not have a major impact on the company. Aston Martin produces all of its cars in Britain—although it imports two-thirds of its parts from Continental Europe.

Aston Martin named its first ever female nonexecutive chair, Penny Hughes, to run the board after the company lists on the LSE. Hughes is the former president of Coca-Cola’s UK and Ireland operations.

A successful IPO by Aston Martin’s Kuwaiti and private-equity owners would be a milestone deal for the automaker. It would follow the IPO of Italian sports-car manufacturer Ferrari, which enjoyed strong demand from investors in its Wall Street debut in 2015.