Egyptian-backed ProDrive in pole position for Aston Martin

Naeem Capital, the investment arm of an Egyptian bank, has reportedly emerged as front-runner in the acution for the luxury car maker, backing the bid by David Richards, a motor industry veteran.

Naeem Capital, a unit of an Egyptian investment bank, has reportedly made it through to the final round of bidders for Ford’s Aston Martin luxury car business to join Doughty Hanson and tycoon Simon Halabi.

The Egyptian finance group is backing racing industry veteran David Richards, whose engineering firm ProDrive supports Aston Martin’s race team. Apax Partners is one of the backers of ProDrive, but it is not thought to be involved in the bid for Aston Martin.

Ford is expected generate more than £450 million ($880 million) in the UBS-run auction.

Naeem Capital, the private equity arm of Naeem Holding plans partly to finance the acquisition through a transaction that complies with Islamic law, which bans lending on interest, according to a report on Reuters.

Ford, which is expected to announce its decision in the next few days, said last year it would sell all or part of Aston Martin to raise funds for other businesses.

Aston Martin is on solid financial footing, a top Ford official said last month, adding sales of the British car made famous by the James Bond spy movies increased by around half last year to about 6,500 units.