DEARBORN, Mich., Oct. 30, 2012 – Record profit and operating margin in North America and continued solid performance from Ford Credit drove the best-ever third quarter profit for Ford Motor Company [NYSE: F] as it reports quarterly results today.
The company reported a pre-tax profit of $2.2 billion, or 40 cents per share, and net income of
$1.6 billion, or 41 cents per share. The company also continued to generate positive Automotive operating-related cash flow, and ended the period with a strong liquidity position of $34.4 billion, an increase of $500 million from the second quarter.
“The Ford team delivered a best-ever third quarter, driven by record results in North America and the continued strength of Ford Credit,” said Alan Mulally, Ford president and CEO. “While we are facing near-term challenges in Europe, we are fully committed to transforming our business in Europe by moving decisively to match production to demand, improve revenue through new products and a stronger brand, improve our cost efficiencies and take advantage of opportunities to profitably grow our business.”
Automotive operating-related cash flow was $700 million, the 10th consecutive quarter of positive performance. Ford finished the third quarter with Automotive gross cash of $24.1 billion, exceeding debt by $9.9 billion. This is a net cash improvement of $1.8 billion compared to a year ago, and an increase of $400 million from the second quarter. Automotive debt of $14.2 billion at the end of the third quarter was unchanged from the end of the second quarter. Ford completed its last drawdown of low-cost loans for advanced technologies in August, and began repayment in September.
Ford also made payments of $600 million to its worldwide funded pension plans. This included $500 million in discretionary payments to U.S. funded plans in line with the company’s previously disclosed long-term strategy to de-risk its funded pension plans. Dividends paid in the quarter totaled nearly $200 million.
The increase in total Automotive pre-tax profit and operating margin is more than explained by the record quarter in North America. This was driven primarily by higher net pricing and lower contribution costs, offset partially by higher structural costs and unfavorable exchange. Lower contribution costs reflect primarily favorable commodity hedge effects.
Ford North America
For the third straight quarter, Ford North America pre-tax profit exceeded $2 billion, and its operating margin exceeded 10 percent. The improvement compared with third quarter 2011 reflected favorable volume and mix, higher net pricing and lower contribution costs, mainly favorable commodity hedging effects; higher structural costs and unfavorable exchange were partial offsets. Ford North America’s pre-tax profit through the first nine months of 2012 exceeded its 2011 full year profit.
The company’s outlook for North America for full year 2012 remains unchanged. Ford expects significantly higher pre-tax operating profit and margin compared with 2011, as consumers continue to respond to the company’s strong product lineup. Ford also remains committed to maintaining its competitive cost structure as it grows its business in North America.
During the quarter, the company added a shift to its Louisville Assembly Plant, where it builds the all-new Escape. This was the last major action in the company’s plan to add 400,000 units of annual incremental capacity by the end of the year.
Ford South America
Pre-tax profit and operating margin, while slightly positive, declined substantially compared with a year ago primarily due to unfavorable exchange – mainly a weaker Brazilian real – unfavorable volume and mix, and higher costs. Volume was affected in the quarter by the launch ramp-up of new products and production reductions in Venezuela related to currency restrictions. Although net pricing was higher, it was constrained compared to prior years by a more intense competitive environment.
Ford continues to expect Ford South America to be profitable for the full year, but at a level substantially lower than 2011, consistent with prior guidance.
Ford Europe’s results compared with a year ago largely reflected unfavorable market factors, including the lowest level of industry sales in almost 20 years. The decline is more than explained by lower volume, including lower industry, lower share and unfavorable dealer stock changes; lower costs and favorable exchange were partial offsets.
With industry sales for the 19 markets the company reports having dropped by 20 percent in the past five years and only modest improvement expected by mid-decade, the company reported that it believes the changes in the European business environment to be structural, rather than cyclical, in nature. Against this backdrop, Ford last week announced a series of actions to accelerate its European transformation and restore its European operations to profitability by mid-decade, targeting a long-term operating margin for Ford Europe of 6 to 8 percent.
The strategy under the One Ford plan focuses on all parts of the business – product, brand and cost. The approach includes an aggressive new product rollout of 15 new global vehicles within five years, along with the introduction of a broad array of smart technologies. The company also announced new initiatives to continue strengthening the Ford brand, including strategic destocking of dealer inventories in the fourth quarter of 2012.
Finally, Ford announced a plan to close three facilities and relocate products for a more efficient manufacturing footprint, including leveraging One Ford operations outside of Europe for some of its new products. The planned facility actions would reduce Ford Europe’s installed vehicle assembly capacity, excluding Russia, by 18 percent or 355,000 units, affect 13 percent of its workforce, and yield gross cost savings annually of $450 million to $500 million when completed. Some actions are subject to an information and consultation process with employee representatives in Belgium.
Ford reiterates its Oct. 25 guidance that, as a result of the deteriorating environment in Europe, as well as elements of its transformation plan, the company now expects Ford Europe’s pre-tax loss for full year 2012 to exceed $1.5 billion.
Ford Asia Pacific Africa
Ford Asia Pacific Africa and Ford China set market-share records in the third quarter as the company began to benefit from increased capacity and strong sales of the recently launched Focus in China and Ranger pickup in the region.
The third quarter profit improvement was explained by favorable volume and mix, higher net pricing and favorable exchange, offset partially by higher costs associated with new products and investments to support higher volumes and future growth.
For the full year, Ford expects Asia Pacific Africa results to be a loss, roughly in line with 2011.
In the third quarter of 2012, Other Automotive reported a loss of $139 million, about unchanged from a year ago. The loss mainly reflects net interest expense. For the full year, Ford expects net interest expense to be about $500 million, consistent with the low end of prior guidance.
FINANCIAL SERVICES SECTOR
Ford Motor Credit Company
The decrease in Ford Credit’s pre-tax results was in line with expectations and was more than explained by fewer lease terminations, which resulted in fewer vehicles sold at a gain, lower financing margin and the non-recurrence of credit loss reserve reductions.
Ford Credit now expects full year pre-tax profit of about $1.6 billion, and total distributions to its parent of about $600 million. Ford Credit continues to project managed receivables at year end to be in the range of $85 billion to $90 billion.
Ford Credit remains a strategic asset for Ford, delivering high levels of quality and customer satisfaction with operating efficiencies that are among the best.
THIRD AND FOURTH QUARTER PRODUCTION VOLUMES
In the third quarter, total company production was about 1.4 million units, 24,000 units higher than a year ago. This is 45,000 units below the company’s prior guidance, reflecting primarily parts supply issues on several products.
Ford expects total company fourth quarter production to be about 1.5 million units, up 112,000 from a year ago, reflecting higher volume in all regions except Europe. Lower production volumes in Europe reflect lower industry as well as Ford’s strategic decision to reduce dealer stocks to generate ongoing benefits for Ford, its customers and dealers.
Planned fourth quarter production is more than 100,000 units higher than third quarter, reflecting Ford’s seasonal operating pattern, as well as added capacity in North America and Asia Pacific Africa.
Ford’s planning assumptions and key metrics include the following:
Going forward, Ford remains committed to all aspects of its One Ford plan, which is unchanged:
Overall this year, Ford expects its total company pre-tax operating profit to be strong and its Automotive operating-related cash flow to be positive – driven by outstanding results in North America and solid performance by Ford Credit.
“Our record quarterly profit and operating margin in North America, the acceleration of the transformation of our business in Europe that will return it to profitability by mid-decade, and the achievement of record quarterly Ford market share in both Asia Pacific Africa and in China all demonstrate that our One Ford plan is working,” said Bob Shanks, Ford chief financial officer. “We will continue to assess opportunities to strengthen our business and achieve profitable growth in all the regions in which we operate.”
The company continues to work toward its mid-decade guidance and remains confident in its plan and ability to deliver profitable growth.
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+ The financial results discussed herein are presented on a preliminary basis; final data will be included in Ford’s Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q for the period ended September 30, 2012. The following information applies to the information throughout this release:
++ Excludes special items and “Income/(Loss) attributable to non-controlling interests.” See tables following “Safe Harbor/Risk Factors” for the nature and amount of these special items and reconciliation to GAAP.
CONFERENCE CALL DETAILS
Ford Motor Company [NYSE:F] releases its preliminary third quarter 2012 financial results at 7 a.m. EDT today. The following briefings will be conducted after the announcement:
Listen-only presentations and supporting materials will be available at www.shareholder.ford.com. Representatives of the news media and the investment community participating by teleconference will have the opportunity to ask questions following the presentations.
Access Information – Tuesday, Oct. 30
Earnings Call: 9 a.m. EDT
Toll Free: 866.318.8613
Earnings Passcode: Ford Earnings
Fixed Income: 11 a.m. EDT
Toll Free: 866.515.2907
Fixed Income Passcode: Ford Fixed Income
Replays – Available after 2 p.m. the day of the event through Tuesday, Nov. 6
Toll Free: 888.286.8010
Fixed Income: 47066242
About Ford Motor Company
Ford Motor Company, a global automotive industry leader based in Dearborn, Mich., manufactures or distributes automobiles across six continents. With about 172,000 employees and 65 plants worldwide, the company’s automotive brands include Ford and Lincoln. The company provides financial services through Ford Motor Credit Company. For more information regarding the company and Ford products, please visit www.corporate.ford.com.
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Safe Harbor/Risk Factors
Statements included herein may constitute “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Forward-looking statements are based on expectations, forecasts and assumptions by our management and involve a number of risks, uncertainties and other factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those stated, including, without limitation:
Ford cannot be certain that any expectation, forecast or assumption made in preparing forward-looking statements will prove accurate, or that any projection will be realized. It is to be expected that there may be differences between projected and actual results. Ford’s forward-looking statements speak only as of the date of initial issuance, and Ford does not undertake any obligation to update or revise publicly any forward-looking statement, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise. For additional discussion of these risks, see “Item 1A. Risk Factors” of Ford’s Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended Dec. 31, 2011.