Ford warns of $2 billion loss in first quarter due to coronavirus

The Ford Motor Co. Michigan Assembly plant stands idle in Wayne, Michigan, U.S., on Monday, March 23, 2020.

Anthony Lanzilote | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Ford Motor expects to report a net loss of $2 billion for the first quarter as the coronavirus pandemic depresses sales and production.

The company disclosed the amount in an amended filing Friday with the Securities and Exchange Commission from earlier in the week that warned investors about Ford reporting a pretax loss of roughly $600 million for the quarter and a roughly 16% decline in revenue. 

Wall Street was not shocked by the news. Ford shares were up 2.8% in Friday morning trading to around $5.08 per share, as part of a larger gain in the market. The automaker’s stock is down 45% this year.

Ford CFO Tim Stone on Monday, in a release, said the company believes it has enough cash to get it through “at least the end of the third quarter with no incremental vehicle production and wholesales or financing actions.”

As of April 9, Ford sad it had about $30 billion in cash on its balance sheet, including $15.4 billion of proceeds from borrowings last month against two existing credit lines.

The company in an emailed statement Friday reiterated “that Ford believes the present cash balance is sufficient through at least end of third quarter, even without resuming additional production or further financing actions.”

Ford expects total revenue for the first quarter to be about $34 billion, down 15.7% from $40.3 billion a year ago.

Ford was not obligated to release the preliminary results, according to a company spokesman. He said it did so because it was a “responsible” thing to do during these unprecedented times. General Motors and Fiat Chrysler have not issued preliminary first-quarter financial results.

GM, in an emailed statement after Ford’s announcement on Monday, said it continues “to work aggressively to strengthen our liquidity” ahead of reporting its earnings on May 6.

Shares of GM were up nearly 5.6% to $22.03 on Friday morning. The automaker’s stock is down 39% this year.

Automakers across the globe have been forced to conduct rolling plant shutdowns due to Covid-19. What started as a problem in China to begin the year, quickly grew to a supply base issue and then a global pandemic that shut down U.S. facilities, which remain closed.

Urged by the United Auto Workers union, Ford, GM and  Fiat Chrysler announced plans to temporarily close their plants due to the coronavirus on March 18. Fiat Chrysler last week announced plans to restart production on May 4, while GM and Ford have not yet disclosed new dates to reopen their facilities. 

Ford is scheduled to report first-quarter results on April 28. 

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