Ford Motor Co. (F) has informed the White House that it now requires everyone visiting its factories to wear face masks, but it’s not clear whether President Donald Trump will adhere to their request when he visits a Detroit-area plant on Thursday.
Trump is scheduled to tour a factory that has been repurposed to make medical breathing machines. President Trump has refrained from wearing masks in recent public appearances.
Ford recently struck a partnership with General Electric (GE) and 3M (MMM), combining resources and expertise to respond to a dire need for ventilators, respirators, and medical protective equipment as coronavirus spreads across the US. The goal of the partnership is to make the medical products most needed at this time easier to manufacture and more efficient.
“Ford has electronic components—blower units, fans, and components that can augment our supply chain for our existing respirators,” explained 3M CEO Mike Roman. “With a modified design, we are hoping to integrate other components, electronics, and injection modeling capabilities.” Beyond retooling the equipment, Ford and 3M are also aligning their production lines so all hoses, screws and the range of interchangeable industrial widgets are compatible.
The coronavirus pandemic has been particularly rough on Ford shareholders. Shares are down some 34% in the past 3 months, and the company reported a $2 billion net loss earlier this month.
In a recent research note, Goldman analyst Mark Delaney initiated coverage of Ford at neutral. He thinks both Ford and rival General Motors (GM) will burn significant amounts of cash in the first half of the year before recovering later on.
TipRanks data shows a Hold consensus towards Ford on Wall Street. Seven out of 11 analysts have Hold ratings on the stock, 2 have Buys and 2 have Sells. The $5.04 average price target reveals 5% downside potential in the shares in the coming 12 months. (See Ford stock analysis on TipRanks).