US: Ford sets profit records despite Europe gloom
- Record Q3 2012 pre-tax operating profit of $2.2bn, up $200m year on year
- 13th consecutive quarter of pre-tax operating profit
- Net income $1.6bn
- Highest North America quarterly pre-tax profit ($2.3bn) and operating margin (12%) since separate region break-outs started in 2000
- Full-year forecast: "Strong total company pre-tax profit"
Ford said on Tuesday (30 October) it had booked best-ever third quarter profit - a pre-tax of US$2.2bn ($0.40 a share) and net of $1.6bn ($0.41). It ended the quarter with liquidity of $34.4bn, up $500m from the second quarter.
That operating profit of 40 cents per share beat the average estimate of 30 cents, according to a Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S survey of analysts.
Third quarter revenue dipped 3% to to US$32.1bn, better than the $30.9bn expected by analysts in the news ahency's poll.
Net profit was on par with results from last year.
“The Ford team delivered a best-ever third quarter, driven by record results in North America and the continued strength of Ford Credit,” president and CEO Alan Mulally said in a statement.
“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.”
"To me, the story isn't just the results in the quarter, but the consistency of the results," chief financial officer Bob Shanks told Reuters.
The increase in total automotive pre-tax profit and operating margin was "more than explained" by the record quarter in North America, Ford said.
There, pre-tax profit was over $2bn and operating margin passed 10%. North American pre-tax profit for the first nine months of 2012 passed the 2011 full year profit.
"Significantly higher" pre-tax operating profit and margin compared with 2011 is expected for the full year due to strong sales of the numerous new products sold there.
However, South America pre-tax profit and operating margin declined substantially due to the weaker Brazilian real, the launch of new models and production reductions in Venezuela related to currency restrictions.
"Ford continues to expect South America to be profitable for the full year but at a level substantially lower than 2011, consistent with prior guidance," the automaker said.
Ford Europe, as widely discussed in the past week, remained a train wreck with a third quarter pre-tax loss of $468m and negative operating margin of 8% and year to date loss of $1.021bn (-5.1%) - this time last year the division had booked a $163m profit.
Factors cited by Ford included the "lowest level of industry sales in almost 20 years".
With industry sales for the 19 markets the company reports having dropped by 20% in the past five years and only modest improvement expected by mid-decade, Ford now considers the changes in the European business environment to be structural, rather than cyclical, in nature - hence its various "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%".
While plants and R&D facilities are slated for closure, Ford Europe’s pre-tax loss for full year 2012 is seen exceeding $1.5bn.
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. A third quarter profit improvement was due to stronger sales and rates but costs rose. Asia Pacific Africa is expected to post a loss, roughly in line with 2011.
“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 CFO Shanks.
“We will continue to assess opportunities to strengthen our business and achieve profitable growth in all the regions in which we operate.”
Ford Earns Record Third Quarter 2012 Pre-Tax Operating Profit of $2.2 Billion, Net Income of $1.6 Billion+
- Best-ever third quarter total company and Automotive pre-tax profit, driven by record North American results; positive Automotive operating-related cash flow; strong liquidity of $34.4 billion
- Third quarter pre-tax profit of $2.2 billion, or 40 cents per share, an increase of $200 million from third quarter 2011. Ford has now posted a pre-tax profit for 13 consecutive quarters
- Third quarter net income, including favorable special items of $83 million, was $1.6 billion, or 41 cents per share, both about the same as third quarter 2011
- Total Automotive pre-tax profit was $1.8 billion, an increase of $436 million from third quarter 2011
- Ford North America achieved its highest quarterly profit and operating margin since at least 2000 when the company started reflecting the region as a separate business unit, with third quarter pre-tax profit of
$2.3 billion and a 12 percent operating margin
- Ford Credit reported a pre-tax profit of $393 million, a decrease of $188 million from third quarter 2011, in line with expectations
- Announced comprehensive transformation plan to restore profitability in Europe by mid-decade
- For the full year, Ford continues to project strong total company pre-tax profit and positive Automotive operating-related cash flow
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:
- Aggressively restructure to operate profitably at the current demand and changing model mix
- Accelerate the development of new products that customers want and value
- Finance the plan and improve the balance sheet
- Work together effectively as one team – leveraging Ford’s global assets
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.
# # #
+ 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:
- Pre-tax operating results exclude special items unless otherwise noted.
- See tables following the “Safe Harbor/Risk Factors” for the nature and amount of special items, and reconciliation of items designated as “excluding special items” to U.S. generally accepted accounting principles (“GAAP”). Also see the tables for reconciliation to GAAP of Automotive gross cash and operating-related cash flow.
- Operating margin is defined as Automotive pre-tax results, excluding special items and Other Automotive, divided by Automotive revenue.
- Discussion of overall Automotive cost changes is measured primarily at present-year exchange and excludes special items and discontinued operations; in addition, costs that vary directly with production volume, such as material, freight, and warranty costs, are measured at present-year volume and mix.
- Wholesale unit sales and production volumes include the sale or production of Ford-brand and JMC-brand vehicles by unconsolidated affiliates. JMC refers to our Chinese joint venture, Jiangling Motors Corporation. See materials supporting the Oct. 30, 2012 conference calls atwww.shareholder.ford.com for further discussion of wholesale unit volumes.
++ 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.
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