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January 24, 2018

PREVIEW – Ford results clouded by higher raw material costs

Ford's fourth quarter and 2017 year-end financial results are due to be announced later today (4:15pm EST, 9:15pm GMT, 10:15pm CET).

Ford’s fourth quarter and 2017 year-end financial results are due to be announced later today (4:15pm EST, 9:15pm GMT, 10:15pm CET).

They are expected to show an outlook dented by higher raw material costs, especially aluminium which is extensively used on Ford models such as the F-150. Ford, analysts say, is more exposed on aluminium costs than other carmakers.

Reuters notes that aluminium prices have risen by around 20% over the past year, with a steep rise towards the end of 2017.

Last week Ford said that higher costs for raw materials, combined with unfavourable currency movements, could cost the company US$1.6bn in 2018. Besides aluminium, Ford is also being hit by higher steel prices.

Some analysts also point out that Ford will face additional competitive pressures in the pickup segment (GM showed its new Silverado at the Detroit Show earlier this month and Chrysler has a new Ram).

Last week Ford announced preliminary full-year 2017 results of US$1.95 earnings per share, an increase of 80 cents from a year ago, and adjusted EPS of US$1.78, an increase of 2c from a year ago and in line with the company’s most recent guidance. The company also expects to end the year with a strong balance sheet with automotive cash of US$26.5bn and automotive liquidity of nearly US$37bn. Ford said profit on that basis will slip to between US$1.45 and US$1.70 in 2018.

Ford’s share price tumbled after its analyst briefing last week. CEO Jim Hackett replaced Mark Fields last year amid investor concerns over Ford’s low share price and perceptions that it was not moving quickly enough to address industry challenges ahead. 

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