Ford beats Wall Street earnings expectations after coronavirus shuttered factories

Business

Visitor walk past a Ford Escape Titanium at the Shanghai Auto Show in Shanghai on April 17, 2019.

Greg Baker| AFP | Getty Images

Ford Motor performed far better than Wall Street expected during the second quarter, even beating its own expectations as the coronavirus caused rolling shutdowns of its plants across the globe.

Here’s how Ford performed versus what Wall Street expected, based on average analysts’ estimates compiled by Refinitive.

  • Adjusted EPS: A loss of 35 cents per share versus a loss of $1.17 per share expected.
  • Automotive revenue: $16.6 billion versus $15.95 billion expected.

Shares of Ford jumped more than 4% in post-market trading after releasing its earnings Thursday evening. The stock closed at $6.74, down 2.6%.

Ford reported an adjusted pretax loss of $1.9 billion – more than $3 billion better than expected. 

Ford CFO Tim Stone warned investors in April that the company expected to lose more than $5 billion, on an adjusted pretax basis, during the second quarter as the pandemic shuttered factories and severely hampered auto sales.

The company managed to report a net profit of $1.1 billion during the second quarter, including a $3.5 billion gain on a previous investment in autonomous vehicle startup Argo AI.

Ford owns about 40% of Argo AI following German automaker Volkswagen purchasing an equal stake in the company from Ford at an evaluation of $7.5 billion. The investment closed in June. 

Analysts and investors were watching to see if Ford would be able to pare back those expected losses since consumer demand in the U.S. was stronger than anticipated, especially for rugged trucks and SUVs. The company also resumed normal shift operations at domestic plants a month ahead of schedule.

Ford burned through $5.3 billion during the second quarter, up from $2.2 billion during the first quarter — numbers that are being closely tracked by Wall Street.

Investors are also watching for any guidance on when Ford might pay down its debt and for updates to an $11 billion restructuring plan led by Ford CEO and President Jim Hackett.

“They’ve got a ton of cash. They’re certainly not going to run out of money this year,” Morningstar analyst David Whiston told CNBC ahead of Ford’s earnings release. “Ford’s problem, as they’ve said in their own words, they’re not physically fit.”

General Motors, which reported its second-quarter earnings Wednesday, said it lost $536 million on an adjusted basis, which was better than Wall Street expected.  On an unadjusted basis, the company lost $806 million and it burned through $7.8 billion in cash during the quarter.

During the first quarter, Ford lost $2 billion and burned through $2.2 billion in cash.

Both Ford and GM roughly doubled their automotive debt to $30 billion during the first quarter to help bolster their balance sheets and get through the Covid crisis.

GM said Wednesday it expects to repay a $16 billion revolving credit line it drew down in March by the end of the year.

This is breaking news. Please check back for updates. 

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