Ford Hints at Raising More Cash After Burning Through Billions

(Bloomberg) -- Ford Motor Co. is considering additional financing actions as a global pandemic heaps more pressure onto earnings that already were slumping before the coronavirus forced plant and showroom closures around the globe.

The carmaker said Monday it’s expecting to report a loss later this month and that it had roughly $30 billion in cash on its balance sheet as of April 9. The comments suggest the company has used about $8 billion since the end of last year, Joel Levington a Bloomberg Intelligence credit analyst, wrote in a report.

Chief Executive Officer Jim Hackett already has suspended the dividend prized by Ford’s founding family and drew $15.4 billion from two credit lines last month to help weather months of uncertainty over when it can resume manufacturing and selling vehicles. The automaker may now stockpile even more cash to get through the crisis.

“We continue to opportunistically assess all funding options to further strengthen our balance sheet and increase liquidity to optimize our financial flexibility,” Tim Stone, Ford’s chief financial officer, said in a statement. “We also are identifying additional operating actions to enhance our cash position.”

Ford Hints at Raising More Cash After Burning Through Billions

Ford shares fell as much as 6.1% to $5.04 in intraday trading. The stock is down about 45% this year, trailing General Motors Co.’s 37% decline.

Read more: Ford adds gowns, testing kits to Covid-19 production efforts

One way Ford could boost funding is by tapping the U.S. asset-backed securities market, said Levington, the BI analyst. While a new primary deal hasn’t priced since March 11, activity may restart this week based on recent filings from other issuers. The return of the Federal Reserve’s Term Asset Backed Securities Loan Facility should aid in a revival, but it’s unclear when the program will be operational.

Ford said it believes it has sufficient cash now to last through at least the third quarter, even if it doesn’t resume production or take additional financing actions.

The carmaker is building up its cash pile at a less opportune time than it did before the last global financial crisis. In 2006, before the mortgage market collapsed and lending dried up, Ford lined up $23 billion in loans that allowed it to avoid the bankruptcies and bailouts that befell its crosstown rivals GM and Chrysler. As collateral to obtain the loans, the automaker put up all its assets, including the Ford brand name.

Ford expects its first quarter adjusted loss to be about $600 million before interest and taxes, the company said about two weeks before it’s scheduled the release of earnings. The $34 billion revenue Ford anticipates for the period would be down about 16% from a year ago.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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