STOCKS TO WATCH: Ex-Aston Martin boss not angry after car crash flotation

Aston Martin’s car crash 2018 flotation was a black mark in the City and a sore spot for shareholders, but former boss Andy Palmer appears sanguine. 

The auto industry veteran – who presided over an eye-watering plunge in the stock price before being ousted in May – is now calling for industry investment in his new role on the board of Slovakian electric car battery startup InoBat Auto. 

Palmer says he hasn’t spoken to Lawrence Stroll, who took the wheel at Aston Martin, since leaving and has no regrets over his days there.

Sore spot: Andy Palmer says he hasn't spoken to Lawrence Stroll, who took the wheel at Aston Martin, since leaving

Sore spot: Andy Palmer says he hasn't spoken to Lawrence Stroll, who took the wheel at Aston Martin, since leaving

Sore spot: Andy Palmer says he hasn’t spoken to Lawrence Stroll, who took the wheel at Aston Martin, since leaving

‘Don’t look back in anger, somebody sang once,’ he tells me, referring to the Oasis hit. 

‘Let’s look at the future. I sleep very easily with what I did at Aston. I did my best. It’s now a new regime, I’ve moved on.’ 

Aston’s investors may not be quite so ready to forgive and forget.

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Speaking of departed bosses, venerable former British Airways chief Keith Williams is upbeat on the airline’s future, despite the huge crisis in aviation. 

Williams, now steering another British institution in Royal Mail, notes: ‘I’m an optimist on BA. In many ways the cheapest form of consolidation is when other airlines are in difficulty.’ 

He adds that the finances of British Airways’ parent, IAG, are strong and that a planned takeover of Spain’s Air Europa would complement its Iberia arm, which competes on routes to South America.

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Shareholders in Mitie will tomorrow vote on its takeover of the facilities management arm of its rival Interserve after the terms of the deal were sweetened earlier this month. 

Investors in the outsourcer are expected to follow the competitions watchdog, and give the thumbs up. 

The question will ultimately be whether pugnacious Mitie chief Phil Bentley can successfully renew Interserve’s clutch of public sector contracts, which include managing military bases overseas and cleaning the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office. 

At least most of the contracts have a while to run before the boss, known as Miami Phil, has to turn on his perma-tanned charm with civil servants. 

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An eye-catching run of form for British fund star Mark Denham. 

The dome-headed stock-picker has six funds to his name after quitting Aviva for French outfit Carmignac four years ago. 

His European Leaders fund is up 25 per cent this year. 

Constituents include Sanofi, the French firm making a Covid vaccine with GlaxoSmithKline and Danish pharma firm Novo Nordisk. 

But Denham tells me bold bets on firms at the sharp end of Covid-19 – Spanish travel tech provider Amadeus and French caterer Sodexo – are also starting to pay off. 

He adds: ‘We follow the lockdown data as closely as anyone, but are looking for companies that can benefit from a long-term recovery and investment into new technologies.’ 

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