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Stocks F / Ford Motor Company

URL:  http://boards.fool.com/my-takeaways-from-fordcom-including-quotes-30512720.aspx

Subject:  Re: Q4 profit beats Street Date:  1/29/2013  10:50 AM
Author:  TMFBreakerRob Number:  17367 of 18135

My takeaways:

* From ford.com including quotes below: "For 2013 outlook, Ford expects another strong year, with Total Company operating profit to be about equal to 2012, Automotive operating margin to be about equal to or lower than 2012, and Automotive operating-related cash flow to be higher than 2012"

More of the same overall. There is hope for the future because the platform commonization strategy is still being implemented, pension costs are still being reduced, Europe is in the early stages of being fixed, Asia is still ramping up. Over the long term, I'd say there is a positive outlook for the company. For investors, I think the prime opportunity is a gradual market recognition of the progress, which may lead to a somewhat higher PE. Patience is the key here.

* "As part of Ford's previously announced strategy to de-risk its pension obligations, the company made $3.4 billion in cash contributions in 2012 to its worldwide funded plans, $2.3 billion higher than 2011. This included $2 billion of discretionary contributions. In 2012, Ford settled $1.2 billion of its pension obligations as part of the voluntary lump sum payout program for salaried retirees, which began in the second half of 2012 and will continue through 2013. For 2013, cash contributions to funded plans are expected to be about $5 billion globally, including discretionary contributions of about $3.4 billion."

Still waiting for my pension buyout offer. :)

* North American operating margin up from 8.3% to 10.4%, spectacular!

* South America operating margin down from 7.8% to 2.1%, not good. 2013 expected to deteriorate further.

* Europe: Worse. High restructuring costs, will hopefully improve somewhere beyond 2013.... but certainly no guarantees. The macro-economic environment, coupled with industry over-capacity is making it hard on the secondary players in the market. VW is cleaning up.... it could be a good investment!

* Asia: Sold 40% more vehicles, margins "improved" from -1.1% to -0.8%. Market share up from 2.8% to 3.4%. 2013 expected to breakeven. This region has required a lot of patience. I hope that patience pays off.

* Ford Credit was down, due to fewer lease terminations (with vehicles subsequently sold at a gain) and lower financing margins. 2013 results to be flat.

* Overall Ford quality levels did not show improvement, but were "mixed". Ford will give it a go again and try to improve. I'd say that's pretty hard because there is so much work, so many new processes being implemented, so much pressure to reduce costs (supposedly without the customer noticing).... and people are being pushed to work harder and longer hours. That's hard to make improvements in those circumstances.

That's my take. Nothing spectacular, a difficult road ahead..... but a good likelihood of better times in the future with higher profits and a nice dividend. I wouldn't make an investment in Ford with the intent of getting rich quickly, but I believe a modest investment here provides some opportunity.

I have a small Ford position, a bit more than 1% of my portfolio.

Rob
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