FORD BEATS EARNINGS, MISSES SALES ESTIMATES

Matthew Boesler
October 24, 2013
Ford F-150
Ford F-150

Ford

Ford Motor has released third-quarter earnings results.

The Detroit auto maker reported earnings per share of $0.45, above expectations for $0.37.

However, it missed sales estimates, reporting $33.9 billion in revenues versus the $34.1 billion estimate.

The company raised its 2013 operating margin forecast, while narrowing its forecast for losses in the European auto market this year.

"We are on track for another strong year in 2013," said Ford CEO Alan Mulally in a press release. "Our One Ford plan continues to deliver profitable growth for all of our stakeholders."

Shares are more than 3% higher in pre-market trading.

Below is the full text of the release:

Ford Motor Company [NYSE: F] delivered record third quarter 2013 pre-tax profit of $2.6 billion, reflecting continued strong performance in North America and a combined profit from the regions outside North America. In addition, Ford Credit remained solidly profitable.

Total company third quarter pre-tax profit of $2.6 billion was $426 million higher than a year ago. Third quarter earnings per share of 45 cents was 5 cents per share higher than a year ago.

Net income for the third quarter of $1.3 billion, or 31 cents per share, was down $359 million, or 10 cents per share, compared with a year ago due to pre-tax special item charges of $498 million. Special item charges included $250 million for separation-related actions, primarily in Europe to support the company's transformation plan, and $145 million associated with Ford's U.S. salaried retiree voluntary lump sum payout program as part of the company's pension de-risking strategy.

Automotive operating-related cash flow was $1.6 billion, a third quarter record, marking the 14th consecutive quarter of positive performance. The company ended the third quarter with strong liquidity of $37.5 billion, an increase of $400 million compared with the end of the second quarter of 2013.

"Ford's record results in the third quarter show the strength of our One Ford plan around the world," said Alan Mulally, Ford president and CEO. "Working together, we remain committed to serving customers in all markets with a full family of vehicles, offering the very best quality, fuel efficiency, safety, smart design and value."

During the quarter, Ford contributed $1.1 billion to its global funded pension plans, which included about $700 million of discretionary payments to its U.S. funded plans as part of the company's pension de-risking strategy.

In the third quarter, the company settled about $700 million of pension obligations related to its U.S. salaried retiree voluntary lump sum program, and has settled $3.4 billion since the program began in August 2012. The lump sum program is about 80 percent complete and concludes at the end of the year.

Dividends paid in the third quarter totaled about $400 million.

Total Automotive third quarter wholesale volume and revenue were up strongly from a year ago. The higher volume reflects higher market share in all regions, improved industry volumes in all regions except South America and favorable changes in dealer stocks in all regions. The growth in revenue primarily reflects higher volume, as well as net pricing gains in all regions.

Third quarter operating margin, at 7 percent, was seven-tenths of a percentage point better than a year ago.

First nine months volume and revenue were higher than a year ago by 14 percent and 13 percent, respectively.

"North America continues to achieve strong profits and we saw significantly improved results outside North America," said Bob Shanks, executive vice president and chief financial officer. "We substantially reduced our losses in Europe, set a record third quarter profit in Asia Pacific Africa and saw a $150 million improvement in South America."

For the sixth time in the last seven quarters, North America achieved a pre-tax profit of $2 billion or more and an operating margin of 10 percent or more. Third quarter pre-tax profit was about equal to last year's record profit. Favorable market factors — volume and mix and net pricing — were offset, for the most part, by higher costs, including investment in new products.

Third quarter results were driven by a strong industry and a robust full-size pickup segment, along with Ford's strong product lineup, U.S. market share growth, continued discipline in matching production to real demand and a lean cost structure — even as the company invests more in product and capacity for future growth.

Wholesale volume and revenue increased 13 percent and 12 percent, respectively, from a year ago. The volume improvement mainly reflects higher U.S. industry sales, favorable changes in dealer stocks and higher U.S. market share. Higher volume drove the revenue increase.

In the first nine months of the year, North America's operating margin was 10.7 percent, five-tenths of a percentage point lower than a year ago, while pre-tax profit was about $7 billion, up about $600 million. Wholesale volume and revenue both improved 15 percent compared with 2012.

For full year 2013, Ford's guidance for North America remains unchanged. The company continues to expect higher pre-tax profit compared with 2012 and operating margin of about 10 percent. 

South America continues to execute the company's strategy of expanding its product lineup, while progressively replacing legacy products with global One Ford offerings. The company's new products continue to perform well. Customer response to the Ranger pickup and refreshed Fiesta remains strong, and EcoSport and Fusion continue to be segment leaders.

South America's pre-tax profit of $159 million in the third quarter was $150 million higher compared with the prior year. Market factors more than explain the improvement.

Wholesale volume and revenue increased strongly from a year ago, both up 22 percent. The higher volume reflects increased market share and favorable changes in dealer stocks. The growth in revenue was driven by the higher volume and net pricing gains, offset partially by unfavorable exchange.

South America's first nine months volume, revenue, operating margin and profit all improved from a year ago. 

The overall environment in South America remains uncertain, but given the company's performance in the first nine months, Ford now expects South America to be about breakeven to profitable for the full year. This is an improvement from prior guidance of about breakeven.

In the third quarter 2013, Europe remained on track in executing its transformation plan.

Europe's third quarter pre-tax loss of $228 million was $240 million better than a year ago, with all factors favorable, except costs associated with restructuring. Europe's results have improved sequentially in each quarter this year.

In the third quarter, wholesale volume and revenue improved from a year ago by 5 percent and 12 percent, respectively, the second consecutive quarter of year-over-year top-line improvement. The volume increase reflects higher industry sales, lower dealer stock reductions than a year ago and higher market share. The increase in Europe's revenue mainly reflects the higher volume.

Europe's operating margin for the first nine months was negative 5 percent and the pre-tax loss was $1 billion, both about equal to a year ago, despite about $400 million of restructuring costs incurred this year and lower industry volume. Volume and revenue were up slightly from a year ago.

The company now expects its full year loss in Europe to be less than 2012. This is an improvement from prior guidance of a loss about the same as a year ago, reflecting the progress the company is making on its Europe transformation plan. 

Ford's strategy in Asia Pacific Africa is to grow aggressively with an expanding portfolio of global One Ford products tailored for the region and with manufacturing hubs in China, India and ASEAN. Implementation of this strategy continues to gain momentum. 

In the third quarter, Asia Pacific Africa reported its fifth consecutive quarterly profit with pre-tax results of $126 million, an improvement of $81 million compared with a year ago. Third quarter results reflect favorable top-line factors, offset partially by higher costs, as the company continues to invest for further growth.

In the third quarter, wholesale volume was up 35 percent from a year ago, and revenue, which excludes the company's China joint ventures, grew 7 percent. The higher volume reflects mainly improved market share, with higher industry volume and favorable changes in dealer stock also contributing. Higher revenue primarily reflects favorable volume and mix.

Asia Pacific Africa's third quarter market share was 3.7 percent, six-tenths of a percentage point higher than a year ago and a quarterly record. The improvement was driven by China, where Ford's market share improved eight-tenths of a percentage point to equal last quarter's record of 4.3 percent, reflecting mainly strong sales of the Kuga, EcoSport and Focus.

For the first nine months, volume, revenue, operating margin and profit all improved from a year ago.

Ford's guidance for Asia Pacific Africa is unchanged. The region is expected to be profitable for the full year.

The third quarter loss of $139 million in Other Automotive reflects net interest expense, offset partially by a favorable fair market value adjustment on the company's investment in Mazda.

For the full year, Ford now expects net interest expense to be at the lower end of its prior guidance of $800 million to $850 million.

In the third quarter, Ford produced about 1.5 million units, or 187,000 higher than in the third quarter of 2012, reflecting higher volumes in all regions.

In the fourth quarter, Ford expects total company production will be about 1.6 million units, 102,000 units higher than a year ago. This includes a reduction of 15,000 units from the company's prior guidance for North America.

Ford Credit's third quarter profit of $427 million improved $34 million from a year ago, more than explained by higher volume in North America. The drivers of higher volume were an increase in leasing, reflecting changes in Ford's marketing programs, as well as higher non-consumer finance receivables due to higher dealer stocks.

Ford Credit remains key to Ford's global growth strategy, providing world-class dealer and customer financial services, maintaining a strong balance sheet, and producing solid profits and distributions.

For full year 2013, Ford Credit continues to expect pre-tax profit to be about equal to 2012. Ford Credit now expects year-end managed receivables of about $100 billion, which is within the prior range of $97 billion to $102 billion, and  distributions of about $400 million, up from $200 million previously planned, reflecting a fourth quarter reduction in Ford Credit's tax liability.

The third quarter loss of $64 million for Other Financial Services primarily reflects charges related to the sale of a portfolio of finance receivables that was not included in the company's sale of the Volvo auto business in 2010.

The company's third quarter operating effective tax rate was about 33 percent. The company now expects its full year operating effective tax rate to be less than 30 percent, compared with 32 percent last year. This reflects a year-to-date tax rate of about 31 percent and a fourth quarter reduction in Ford Credit's tax liability.

Ford remains focused on delivering the key aspects of its One Ford plan, which are unchanged:

  • Aggressively restructuring to operate profitably at the current demand and changing model mix
  • Accelerating the development of new products that customers want and value
  • Financing the plan and improving the balance sheet
  • Working together effectively as one team, leveraging Ford's global assets

"We are on track for another strong year in 2013," Mulally said. "Our One Ford plan continues to deliver profitable growth for all of our stakeholders."

Click here for the full release »



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