Ford Posts $1.4 Billion Loss

Restructuring plan remains on track, auto company says.

Ford Motor Co. announced Friday it lost $1.4 billion in the first quarter, and said its restructuring was on track to achieve "break-even or better" results by 2011. The automaker, the only member of the Detroit Big Three, which includes Chrysler and General Motors, that has not received emergency government aid, said it has enough cash to keep its plans on track. "Ford finished the first quarter with $21.3 billion in automotive gross cash and reiterated that based on current planning assumptions it does not expect to seek a bridge loan from the U.S. government," a company statement said. "Our results in the first quarter reflected the extremely difficult business environment and weak demand for autos around the world," said Ford President and CEO Alan Mulally. "Despite the challenges, Ford made strong progress on our transformation plan by gaining share with strong new products, slowing operating-related cash outflows, reducing outstanding debt, lowering our structural costs and reaching new agreements with the UAW [United Auto Workers]." Ford said it "remains on track to meet or beat its financial targets based on current planning assumptions, including the target for its overall and North American automotive pre-tax results to be breakeven or better in 2011, excluding special items." For all of 2008, Ford posted a whopping loss of $14.57 billion, as the auto market collapsed in the latter part of the year. Ford's loss for the past quarter translated to 75 cents per share, not as bad as feared on Wall Street, where analysts were expecting a deficit of $1.23 per share. First quarter revenue, excluding special items, was $24.8 billion, down sharply from $39.2 billion a year due to lower sales volume and unfavorable exchange rates. Ford, which shed its Jaguar and other international nameplates as part of its restructuring, said it has begun "discussions with interested parties regarding the sale of Volvo," the Swedish-based brand. Ford said Volvo had an operating loss of $255 million for the first quarter, and that the company would take an "impairment charge" of about $700 million, reflecting the difference between the book value and estimated fair market value of Volvo. Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2009

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