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Ford sells Aston Martin for £479m

Two Kuwait-based investment companies have joined former rally champion David Richards to buy Aston Martin.

Adeem Investment KSC and Investment Dar Co. have united in a consortium with Richard’s Prodrive to buy the car company from Ford. Completing the consortium in John Sinders, a banker in finance and shipping from Houston, Texas and Dubai.

The announcement of the sale was made at 1pm today. The deal sees Aston Martin valued at £479m, in line with Ford's expectations. Ford will retain a £40 million investment in Aston Martin.

Adeem and Investment Dar has agreed to buy a minority stake in Aston Martin.

Richards is a former world rally champion who managed the Benetton Formula One team in 1998 and led BAR-Honda for three years. He is also the founder of racing car parts maker Prodrive.

He said today that Aston Martin was an icon of British engineering and yet its true potential has yet to come.'

Investment Dar, a Kuwaiti company, is the largest listed investment company in the Gulf. It owns and manages a group of companies including banking, finance, investment and asset management, real estate, insurance, banking, and logistics. Investment Dar has total assets of US $3.66 billion, with net income of US$ 317.3 million in 2006.

Adeem Investment is a Kuwaiti company and owns companies in the banking and finance, real estate and hotels, transport and logistics, food and telecoms industries with assets under management in excess of US$ 1.5 billion.

Aston Martin will remain at its production facility at Gaydon.

"The sale of Aston Martin supports the key objectives of the company, to restructure to operate profitably at lower volumes and changed model mix and to speed the development of new products," said Alan Mulally, Ford's president and chief executive officer.

"From Aston Martin's point of view, the sale will provide access to additional capital, which will allow Aston Martin to continue the growth it has experienced under Ford's stewardship. Today's announcement is good for Ford Motor Company, good for Aston Martin and good for the UK. We wish Aston Martin every possible success for the future."

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