Ford warns of $2 billion quarterly loss as it seeks more cash

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DETROIT — Ford Motor Co.  projected a first-quarter net loss of $2 billion and said it would tap debt markets to shore up cash reserves as the coronavirus outbreak halted production and curbed vehicles sales.

The automaker has already suspended its dividend and drawn down more than $15 billion to ride out the damage to its business from the pandemic.

In a regulatory filing Friday, Ford also said it had filed for a debt offering but did not disclose the amount. The company had about $30 billion in cash on its balance sheet as of April 9.

The disclosures provide a more-complete picture of what Ford will report on April 28, when first-quarter financials will be released. On Monday, the company said it expects to post a pretax loss of about $600 million for the quarter.

“We believe we have sufficient cash today to get us through at least the end of the third quarter with no incremental vehicle production and wholesales or financing actions,” CFO Tim Stone said then. 

Ford’s U.S. vehicle sales fell 12 percent in the first quarter, with most of the damage coming in late March as the pandemic swept across the U.S. 

In response, Ford joined other automakers in shuttering plants in North America and Europe. 

The U.S. market, with its highly profitable pickup truck and SUV segments, generates the overwhelming majority of Ford’s profits.

Ford shares rose 4.7 percent to $5.18 in midday trading on Wall Street.

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Saurabh Shukla

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