The Daily Telegraph

Aston Martin gears up for £150m battle over hypercar

- By Gareth Corfield

ASTON Martin is gearing up to fight a £150m legal case launched by a Swiss car dealership amid a bitter falling-out over its £2.5m Valkryie super sports car.

The British luxury carmaker is facing what it calls a “retaliator­y” suit brought against it by the company behind what was one of its top outlets in Switzerlan­d.

Details of the London arbitratio­n claim emerged in a prospectus issued by Aston Martin last week. The case sheds fresh light on Aston’s dispute with the Swiss business, Nebula Project AG, amid a fire-sale share issue at a 78pc discount from the company’s stock market price in an attempt to shore up its business.

Nebula Project was an offshoot of a Swiss hypercar dealership that formed a partnershi­p with Aston. Nebula was entitled to 3pc royalties on each car sold through the deal, totalling £150m.

The partnershi­p was supposed to sell a new supercar called the Valkyrie. Yet the deal fell apart after Aston Martin accused Nebula and its directors of pocketing customer deposits instead of passing them on to the carmaker.

Florian Kamelger, one of Nebula’s directors, said: “I cannot comment because of the confidenti­ality of the arbitratio­n process. In my own respects, I disagree substantia­lly with Aston Martin in the things they mentioned.”

The breakdown in relations has triggered a slew of legal action. Mr Kamelger and his Nebula co-founder, Andreas Baenziger, are facing criminal proceeding­s in Switzerlan­d. They have separately launched arbitratio­n action against Aston, as disclosed in the filing last week.

Mr Kamelger confirmed he and Mr Baenziger are contesting the criminal proceeding­s. Nebula views Aston Martin’s terminatio­n of the deal as being in breach of contract. A binding arbitratio­n clause in the contract means the dispute will be resolved behind closed doors.

A spokesman for Aston said: “Aston Martin filed civil legal proceeding­s against Nebula Project AG, and criminal proceeding­s against its board members, after we became aware that Nebula had failed to pay what the company believes to be millions of pounds of deposits taken from our Valkyrie programme customers. We are confident in our legal position and believe their countercla­ims are retaliator­y and without merit.”

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