Aston Martin on track for first pre-tax profit since 2010

LONDON, Nov 22 (Reuters) - Aston Martin is on course to post its first annual pre-tax profit since 2010 as strong demand for the luxury automaker’s DB11 sports car boosts its performance.

Pre-tax profit reached 22 million pounds ($29 million) in the first nine months of 2017, reversing a loss of 124 million pounds in the same period in 2016, it said on Wednesday.

“Our strong financial performance and continued profitability reflects the growing appeal of our high-performance sports cars, with the new DB11 Volante and a new Vantage expected to stimulate further demand in the coming year,” Chief Executive Andy Palmer said.

Asked on Monday whether the firm would be in the black this year, Palmer told Reuters: “It’s our intention to be.”

Aston Martin, which is mainly owned by Kuwaiti and Italian private equity firms, last posted a profit in 2010. Its losses then grew, partly due to lack of new models, a high-profile recall and an extended period without a chief executive.

Since Palmer’s appointment in 2014, the firm has pursued a turnaround plan designed to boost its model line-up, quadruple volumes and produce its first SUV at a new plant in Wales, setting up a possible stock market flotation.

Volumes rose 65 percent to 3,330 cars in the first nine months of the year, prompting the firm to raise its full-year guidance to expect core earnings of at least 180 million pounds on revenue of over 840 million pounds.

Third-quarter profit stood at 0.8 million pounds, reflecting a quieter period across the car sector when demand falls as people take holidays and some customers prefer to wait until after the vacation period to have their cars delivered.

On Tuesday, the firm launched its new Vantage model, which will take its output to 7,000 sports cars in 2019, its highest level in a decade. ($1 = 0.7551 pounds) (Editing by Alexander Smith)