Ford raises profit forecast on strong 2Q results

Dearborn (US), PTI | Updated : 25 July 2013, 01:06 PM

Ford Motor Co. reported better-than-expected earnings for the second quarter and raised its profit and sales forecasts for the year as strong US pickup truck demand and growing sales in China offset persistent, but narrowing, losses in Europe.

Its shares rose 3.7 per cent to USD 17.57 in morning trading on Wednesday. That's the highest intraday price since January 28, 2011.

Ford earned USD 1.23 billion in the April-June period, up 18.5 per cent from a year ago.

The company's results were propelled by a USD 2.3 billion profit in North America, a second-quarter record for that region. Pickup truck sales are booming in the US, where construction companies and other businesses are rapidly replacing the fleets they held onto during the recession.

Sales of Ford's F-Series pickup, which has long been the best-selling vehicle in the US, jumped 26 per cent in the second quarter, or more than three times the average industry increase.

Ford's total US sales rose 15 per cent during the quarter, according to Kelley Blue Book.

Ford also reported a best-ever profit of USD 177 million in Asia. Ford's sales jumped 47 per cent in China the first six months of this year, compared with total industry sales growth of 17 per cent, as the company introduced new vehicles like the EcoSport and Kuga SUVs.

Asia had previously been a drag on Ford's earnings. The company has poured money into new factories and product development there as it tries to catch up to others such as General Motors and Volkswagen that appreciated the region's potential sooner. Chief Financial Officer Bob Shanks said Asia will be a bigger contributor to earnings over the next few years.

"You're starting to see what's possible," Shanks told media at the company's Dearborn, Michigan, headquarters Thursday morning.

Ford now expects full-year pretax profit to be equal to or better than the USD 8 billion it reported a year ago. Previously the company had expected to match that profit.

Ford also expects sales in the US, Europe and China to be at the upper end of its previous forecasts.

In Europe, Ford narrowed its expected full-year loss to USD 1.8 billion from USD 2 billion. The company lost USD 348 million in Europe in the second quarter, a USD 56 million improvement over last year's second quarter. Shanks noted that Ford gained market share despite the troubled economy with new vehicles like the Fiesta subcompact and Ranger small pickup.

First Published: Thursday, July 25, 2013 01:04 PM
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