Ford Slammed With 4th Quarter Net Loss Of $5.9 Billion

Despite a message focused on being the only U.S. automaker operating without federal loans, Ford burned through $5.9 billion in cash during the final three months of 2008 as losses mounted.

The company reported a net loss of $5.9 billion for the fourth quarter of 2008, compared with a loss of $2.8 billion a year earlier, capping a third straight year without a profit.

The pre-tax operating loss, excluding special items, was $3.7 billion, compared with a loss of $620 million during the same period in 2007.

Ford finished the year with cash reserves of $13.4 billion on hand, but claims it is immediately pulling in $10.1 billion from available credit lines due to concerns about the instability of the capital markets and the uncertain economy. Probably a good idea.

Pulling in the $10.1 billion would give Ford overall liquidity of $23.5 billion, minus the amount of cash been used thus far in January. Based on the companies' current assumptions, Ford continues to say it has adequate liquidity to fund its business plan. But Ford executives have said they may ask for government help if industry sales don't start to recover this year. So assume, as we've said before, that this'll happen because this market ain't getting any better any time soon.

Full press release below:

FORD REPORTS 4TH QUARTER 2008 NET LOSS OF $5.9 BILLION; GAINED MARKET SHARE IN U.S., EUROPE, ACHIEVED COST TARGET

* Net loss of $5.9 billion, or $2.46 per share, for the fourth quarter of 2008 amid a sharp global decline in vehicle demand; pre-tax loss of $3.7 billion from continuing operations, excluding special items.
* Reduced Automotive costs by $1.4 billion in fourth quarter and $4.4 billion in 2008 versus year-ago levels. Achieved $5.1 billion in North America cost reductions at year-end 2008 compared with 2005, excluding favorable impact of depreciation and amortization from asset impairment at the end of the second quarter.
* Decisively reduced global dealer stocks by more than 50,000 vehicles compared with the third quarter. Ford now has among the lowest days’ supply in the industry.
* Product transformation continues to gain strength, helping the company to gain market share in Europe for fourth quarter and full year, and in the U.S. in the fourth quarter.
* Total liquidity of $24 billion, including Automotive gross cash of $13.4 billion, at Dec. 31, 2008. +++
* Ford is drawing its available credit lines due to concerns about the instability of the capital markets with the uncertain state of the economy. The $10.1 billion will be added to company cash for the first quarter 2009.
* The United Auto Workers union has agreed to end the “jobs bank” at Ford. The company and the union are presently working out the details of implementation.
* Based on current planning assumptions, Ford has sufficient Automotive liquidity to fund its business plan and product investments and does not need a bridge loan from the U.S. government.
* Ford remains on track for both its overall and its North American Automotive pre-tax results to be at or above breakeven in 2011, excluding special items.

Ford Slammed With 4th Quarter Net Loss Of $5.9 Billion