Aston Martin, the luxury car-maker, will turn the ignition key on its long-awaited £5bn stock market listing this week in one of the City's most prominent public offerings for years.
Sky News can exclusively reveal that James Bond's favourite car marque will announce alongside interim results on Wednesday that it intends to list on the London Stock Exchange (Other OTC: LDNXF - news) in the autumn.
The formal launch of its initial public offering (IPO), which will involve the sale of roughly £1bn of shares in the company, largely by existing investors, is expected through an Intention To Float statement that could come as soon as next week.
Its shares would then begin trading publicly well before the end of the year.
Insiders said that Aston Martin would update the market on its flotation alongside "healthy" interim results that would also herald the registration of formal paperwork with listing regulators.
They added that the company, which is owned by Italian and Kuwaiti shareholders, would be seeking a valuation at the top end of a previously indicated £4bn-£5bn range.
The IPO is expected to include a special component offering stock to Aston Martin customers, as well as a new employee share scheme.
A new chairman and other independent board members are in the process of being recruited, with one potential non-executive director said to be Richard Solomons, the former chief executive of Intercontinental Hotels Group.
Sky News revealed earlier this year that Aston Martin had signed up seven banks to prepare the flotation.
The company reported disappointing first-quarter results in May, with profits impacted by a weaker US dollar and higher product development costs.
However, insiders said on Tuesday that the half-year results would reflect more positive trends.
A flotation of Aston Martin will deliver one of the most eagerly awaited listings to the public equity markets, and come after years of speculation about its plans.
:: Aston Martin to offer discounted stock in £5bn listing
The manufacturer of models such as the Vanquish S said in February that it was examining "a range of strategic options... including the potential for an IPO".
Gaydon-based Aston Martin has been driving towards an IPO by unveiling a stream of new vehicles, including plans to revive its Lagonda brand as an all-electric marque at the Geneva Motor Show earlier this year.
Andy Palmer, the company's chief executive, said the revamp would "appeal to people other than traditionalists, such as those who want to upgrade from a Tesla".
In an effort to embrace growing demand for electric vehicles, Aston Martin has said that each of its models will be developed with hybrid technology or full battery power by 2025.
Aston Martin, which faced years of financial struggles, has delivered a turnaround in its financial performance, to the relief of its main shareholders, Italy's Investindustrial and Investment Dar, a Kuwaiti vehicle.
The company reported the highest sales in its history last year, at £876m, with pre-tax profits of £87m.
The manufacturer of the DB11, Vantage and Rapide models has also drawn up plans to enter the lucrative SUV market, with the DBX expected to go on sale in 2020.
Aston Martin employs more than 2,700 people, and sells its cars in 53 countries.
Its growth prospects have been spurred by its strong performance in overseas markets including China, where it plans to open 10 new showrooms.
The carmaker announced the expansion during Theresa May's trade visit to China this year, when she was joined by bosses including Mr Palmer.
Deutsche Bank (IOB: 0H7D.IL - news) , Goldman Sachs (NYSE: GS-PB - news) and JPMorgan (LSE: JPIU.L - news) have won the prized roles of joint global co-ordinators on the IPO, while Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Credit Suisse (IOB: 0QP5.IL - news) , HSBC and Unicredit (EUREX: DE000A163206.EX - news) will act in the more junior bookrunner roles.
A spokesman for Aston Martin declined to comment on what it called "continued speculation".