Ford sees full-year pretax profit, posts strong quarterly earnings

29 October 2020 - 09:17 By Reuters
Ford posted a better-than-expected quarterly profit on strong US demand for SUVs and pickups.
Ford posted a better-than-expected quarterly profit on strong US demand for SUVs and pickups.
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Ford Motor Co on Wednesday posted a better-than-expected quarterly profit on strong US demand for pickups and SUVs, and forecast a full-year pretax profit instead of a loss, boosting shares in after-hours trading.

Ford CEO Jim Farley, who took over on October 1, is tasked with completing the No 2 US car maker's $11bn (roughly R179,423,750,000) restructuring begun under his predecessor, Jim Hackett, and has promised greater urgency.

He has also said he is keen to expand Ford's operations into related technology fields, including software, data, fleet management and electric vehicle charging.

Ford reported net income in the third quarter of $2.4bn (roughly R39,147,000,000), or 60 cents a share, compared with $400m (roughly R6,524,500,000), or 11 cents a share, a year earlier.

Excluding items, Ford's profit was $3.6bn (roughly R58,712,580,000), or 65 cents a share, topping the 19 cents analysts polled by Refinitiv had expected.

The company said it now anticipates better-than-expected fourth-quarter results, as well as a full-year pretax profit of between $600m (roughly R9,784,680,000) and $1.1bn (roughly R17,938,580,000).

Ford said in July that it expected a pretax profit of between $500m (roughly R8,153,900,000) and $1.5bn (roughly R24,461,700,000) in the third quarter and a loss for the fourth quarter as well as for the full year.

In a conference call on Wednesday, Farley said: “We haven't fixed the issues that have held us back in our automotive business.” But he added that his leadership team has “a clear turnaround plan”.

The car maker fully repaid $15bn (roughly R244,602,000,000) in revolving credit loans and ended the quarter with nearly $30bn in cash (roughly R489,204,000,000) and more than $45bn of liquidity (roughly R733,806,000,000).

The company's adjusted EBIT margin in the quarter was 9.7%, with a full-year target of 8%. Ford's net margin in the period was 6.4%.

Ford began building the redesigned F-150 and the new Mustang Mach-E and Bronco Sport this month. The new full-size truck goes on sale next month, and, along with the commercial business, is key to Ford's growth strategy.

Farley said electric vehicles, including battery-powered variants of the F-150 pickup and Transit van, were “fundamental” to the company's future, including the Lincoln line and Ford's commercial vehicle business.

Ford shares were up 3.8% at $8.00 in extended trading, paring gains from an initial rise of 7% after hours.

Credit Suisse analyst Dan Levy, in an earnings note, said, “We expect the stock to outperform near-term; indeed, we believe Jim Farley will drive incremental urgency and accountability at Ford.”

“We saw much higher demand than we expected,” CFO John Lawler told reporters on the conference call. “We also saw higher net pricing, particularly in North America.”