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Ford Posts Strong Third-Quarter Earnings, Sees 2020 Profit

(Bloomberg) — Ford Motor Co., riding a wave of momentum from new models and new management, exceeded expectations with third-quarter earnings that outran the economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic.Fueled by strong sales of pricey pickups, Ford posted adjusted earnings per share of 65 cents, well above the 19 cents analyst consensus forecast, with adjusted earnings before interest and taxes of $3.6 billion compared with $1.8 billion a year ago.Shares of the company rose as much as 7.8% in postmarket trading after closing Wednesday at $7.70. The stock is down about 17% this year.Chief Financial Officer John Lawler said in a conference call with reporters that Ford expects adjusted earnings before interest and taxes for full-year 2020 to be between $600 million and $1.1 billion. This is up from a projected loss for the year that the company had predicted in the second quarter.The long-suffering automaker is enjoying a surge in sentiment since industry veteran Jim Farley became chief executive officer Oct. 1, replacing retiring Jim Hackett, to whom Wall Street never warmed. Intense and demanding, Farley is expected to jumpstart a turnaround that has been sputtering for years.Farley is armed with three key new models — a redesign of its top-selling F-150 pickup, the electric Mustang Mach-E and the revived Bronco sport-utility vehicle — and a U.S. auto market that is coming back faster than anticipated after a Covid-19-related, two-month spring shutdown initially decimated sales.Ford recorded its best third-quarter pickup sales in 15 years as demand for trucks industrywide outpaced supply with the economy clawing back from the pandemic pause. That boosted the company’s U.S. market share in the quarter and the average price buyers paid for its models to $45,599, up 8% from a year earlier, according to researcher Edmunds. Revenue in the quarter was $37.5 billion, above the $33.98 billion analysts anticipated.Overseas Market Drag“Ford is riding a wave of positive momentum that should carry the company through the end of a wild year,” Jessica Caldwell, Edmunds’ executive director of insights, said in a statement before the automaker released quarterly results.To conserve cash when the pandemic hit, Ford suspended its dividend and maxed out its revolving credit lines of $15.4 billion. The automaker repaid almost half that debt in the second quarter, ending the period with $39 billion in cash on hand. It finished the third quarter with $30 billion in cash and $45 billion in cash reserves.North America continued to drive Ford’s results, with automotive earnings before interest and taxes of $3.18 billion, up from $2.01 billion a year earlier, when the automaker was in the midst of a costly botched launch of its Explorer SUV. Third-quarter operating margin in the region was 12.5%, up from 8.6% a year earlier.Overseas operations remained a work in progress. Ford lost $58 million in China, where sales rose 25% in the quarter.In Europe, Ford lost $440 million as it scrambles to avoid fines for falling short of environmental regulations after recalling plug-in hybrids that caught fire.(Updates with shares in third paragraph.)For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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