November 15, 2018 / 7:44 AM / 6 months ago

Aston Martin still planning for the worst despite Brexit deal

LONDON (Reuters) - Aston Martin’s (AML.L) boss said the Brexit deal agreed by Britain and the EU is “good enough” but the company will not halt contingency plans while doubts remain over whether the agreement will be receive UK parliamentary backing.

The luxury carmaker, which listed on the London Stock Exchange last month, posted a rise in third-quarter profit on Thursday, doubling sales with the aid of strong demand in China.

Aston Martin shares lost more than 20 percent of their value in the first few weeks since their Oct. 3 market debut at 19 pounds ($24.63) and were down more than 7 percent at 14.73 pounds by 0826 GMT, with Jefferies analysts saying revenue had fallen short of expectations

Business has cautiously welcomed the Brexit agreement announced late on Wednesday, which manufacturers hope will allow them to continue the complex flow of parts and finished models across borders.

“It appears to be good enough,” Aston Chief Executive Andy Palmer, told Reuters.

But asked whether that would allow the company to change any of its contingency planning, which includes potentially flying in components and changing ports to maintain its output, Palmer said there was not enough certainty at this point.

“You can’t stand anything down yet. Yes, the cabinet have agreed, but the Tory (Conservative) party needs to agree and then parliament needs to agree, and I don’t think any of that is that easy,” said Palmer, who has led a turnaround plan at the company since 2014.

FILE PHOTO: The Aston Martin Lagonda Vision Concept car is pictured during the 88th Geneva International Motor Show in Geneva, Switzerland, March 6, 2018. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse/File Photo

He said a board meeting next month would decide whether to trigger such plans.

The luxury brand, which said it expected full-year sales to come in at the top end of expectations at up to 6,400 vehicles, warned of Britain leaving the bloc in March next year with no agreement, which could happen if parliament opposes the plan.

“No-deal Brexit is a disaster ... because you’re into tariffs at the borders, you’re into essentially logjams at the border, you’re into discussions about your labor,” he said.

Reporting by Costas Pitas; Editing by David Goodman

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