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Ford's Quarterly Loss Balloons to $254M - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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NEW YORK, AP – Ford Motor Co.’s second-quarter loss more than doubled from what the No. 2 U.S. car maker previously reported because of higher-than-expected pension costs. In a second piece of weak news, the company said its luxury car division won’t be profitable this year.

In a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission Wednesday evening, Ford said it revised its loss to $254 million, or 14 cents per share, from the previously announced loss of $123 million, or 7 cents per share.

That contrasts with a profit of $946 million, or 47 cents per share, posted in the second quarter of last year.

Dearborn, Mich.-based Ford attributed the revision to an increase in full-year 2006 pension curtailment expenses to $1.2 billion, up from its previous projection of $1 billion. Full-year special items are expected to total $3.8 billion.

Ford had previously expected its Premier Auto Group, which includes its Jaguar, Volvo, Aston Martin and Land Rover brands, to post a 2006 pretax profit, but be close to breaking even, excluding special items.

The filing came the same day The Wall Street Journal reported that the automaker is starting a review of poorly performing units, including Jaguar, with an eye toward the possible sale of some operations.

Ford also is considering forming an alliance with other automakers, a move that General Motors Corp. is contemplating, the newspaper reported, attributing information to unidentified people close to the situation.

“There are no new plans to divest our brands or invest in a new alliance,” Ford spokesman Tom Hoyt told The Associated Press on Wednesday.

Hoyt said Bill Ford recently told industry analysts that while all aspects of the business were being reviewed and he wouldn’t rule out any possible moves, company leaders were focusing their efforts on turning around Ford Motor’s North American automotive business.

Ford also announced Wednesday that it has contracted with former Wall Street merger and acquisitions whiz Kenneth Leet to serve as a strategic adviser to Bill Ford, the automaker’s chairman and chief executive.

Ford has been losing market share to Asian manufacturers for a decade and has been badly stung by high gas prices because big trucks and sport utility vehicles account for a majority of the vehicles it sells. For the first time last month, it sold fewer vehicles than Toyota Motor Corp. in the U.S.

According to the report, Leet will lead Ford’s review of its ailing operations. He headed merger and acquisition teams for Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Bank of America Corp.

“He’ll absolutely be helpful in that process and play a key role in that process,” Hoyt said.

The newspaper said a team will consider whether Ford should sell some underperforming brands or seek alliances with other automakers. It said the team also will look at what Ford should do with its financing arm, Ford Credit. The unit’s borrowing costs have risen because Ford’s credit had been downgraded below investment grade.

Ford acquired Jaguar in 1989. Last month, Ford lowered the financial goal for its Premier Auto Group.

Ford sold 224,447 vehicles in July, down 35 percent from 346,429 in July 2005. Toyota’s July sales totaled 241,826 vehicles, up 12 percent from 216,417 a year earlier.

Ford’s “Way Forward” restructuring plan, launched six months ago, calls for shedding 25,000 to 30,000 jobs and closing 14 plants by 2012. By year’s end, the company will have cut production capacity 15 percent and will be a third of the way toward its targeted number of employee cuts, Bill Ford has said.