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Ford posts 2009 profit

Blue in the black: Ford CEO Alan Mulally has Ford in the pink of health.

Blue Oval returns to profit and FoMoCo plans to stay there in 2010

Ford logo29 Jan 2010

FORD Motor Company rebounded from losses totalling $US30 billion ($A33.6b) between 2006 and 2008 – including a record $US14.7 billion ($A16.4b) net loss in 2008 – to post a full-year pre-tax operating profit of $US454 million ($A507.5m) for 2009.

After tax, Ford made a $US8 million ($A8.94m) profit compared with a loss of $US7.3 billion ($A8.16b) in 2008.

Announced yesterday (January 28) without fanfare, the result was due in part to a fourth-quarter operating profit, after taxes, of $US1.6 billion ($A1.79b) compared with a loss of $US3.3 billion ($A3.69b) in Q4 2008.

Ford reported fourth-quarter net income of $US868 million ($A972m), compared with a net loss of $US5.9 billion ($A6.6b) in Q4 2008.

 center imageLeft: Ford CFO Lewis Booth.

Ford, the only US car-maker not to seek government loans and file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy last year amid the slowest domestic vehicle sales for 27 years, said it planned to post an operating profit again in 2010 on a pre-tax basis excluding special items both in North America and globally.

“We're going to be profitable in 2010,” said CFO Lewis Booth.

Ford said it turned a 2009 net income of $US2.7 billion ($A3.0b), or US86 cents (A96.3 cents) per share, driven in part by favourable net pricing, structural cost reductions, net gains on debt reduction actions and strong Ford Credit results.

It was the company’s first full year of positive net income since 2005 and a $US17.5 billion ($A19.6b) improvement over 2008.

Ford Credit reported net income of $US1.3 billion ($A1.46b) in 2009, an improvement of $US2.8 billion ($A3.13b) from a net loss of $US1.5 billion ($A1.69b) a year earlier.

Ford finished the year with $US25.5 billion ($A28.57) in gross automotive cash and $34.3 billion ($A38.43b) in automotive debt.

Ford CEO Alan Mulally said in a statement that Ford still faced significant business environment challenges.

“2009 was a pivotal year for Ford and the strongest proof yet that our One Ford plan is working and that we are forging a path toward profitable growth by working together as one team, leveraging our global scale,” he said.

Ford posted its first North American market share gain last year since 1995, with a 1.0 percentage point gain bringing it to 15.5 per cent. The Ford, Mercury and Lincoln brands were up 33 per cent up in December – Ford’s best sales month since May 2008.

Ford's US sales fell 15.4 per cent in 2009 – less than the industry average decline of 21 per cent – to 10.4 million vehicles, its lowest total since 1981.

Ford will raise production in the first quarter in North America by 20,000 units to 570,000 vehicles.

“We're encouraged by our cash position,” Mr Booth said in the US yesterday. “We are also seeing the benefit of our production being ramped up again.

“We have an uncompetitive balance sheet,” Booth said. “The most important thing is to return the business to fundamental health and pay down our debt.”

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