Fitch Ups Ford to Investment Grade (F, GM)

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Ford Motor Co. (NYSE: F) is getting its reward for dodging bankruptcy during the financial crisis, something that its US rivals General Motors Co. (NYSE: GM) and Chrysler were not able to achieve. Fitch Ratings today boosted the credit ratings of both Ford and its finance unit one notch from ‘BB+’ to ‘BBB-’, the lowest investment grade rating. The ratings change comes with a ‘stable’ outlook.

Ford lost its investment grade rating at Fitch in 2005, and the other two ratings agencies continue to rate Ford debt as ‘junk’, with S&P giving the company a rating of ‘BB+’ and ‘Ba1’, respectively. In its report Fitch said:

Since the last recession, Ford’s management has been heavily focused on increasing profitability, growing liquidity, lowering debt and reducing the company’s pension obligations. Fitch believes that the work that has been accomplished has put the company in a solid position to withstand the significant cyclical and secular pressures faced by the global auto industry.

Ford’s shares are up 1.5% at $11.52 in a 52-week range of $9.05-$16.18.

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