Why Ford Earnings Sent Investors to the Exits

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Ford Motor Co. (NYSE: F) reported second-quarter 2018 results after markets closed Wednesday afternoon. For the quarter, the automaker posted adjusted diluted earnings per share (EPS) of $0.27 on revenues of $38.92 billion. In the same period a year ago, the company reported EPS of $0.56 on revenues of $39.85 billion. Analysts were looking for EPS of $0.31 and revenues of $35.83 billion.

Ford said that third-quarter revenue, net income, and adjusted EBIT all fell year over year “mainly due to factors related to a North American production disruption at a parts supplier…, as well as ongoing challenges in China. An April fire at the Meridian Magnesium Products facility in Eaton Rapids, Michigan, halted production of the company’s best-selling F-150 pickups for about a week.

The company held to its forecast for full-year EPS of $1.45 to $1.75 when commented on the impact of the fire, but in this afternoon’s report, the company has dropped that estimate to a new range of $1.30 to $1.50 which it attributes to challenges in both Asia Pacific and Europe. Consensus estimates were calling for full-year EPS of $1.52.

CEO Jim Hackett said:

This quarter we achieved solid results in North America, offset in part by unexpected challenges with our overseas operations and headwinds in the business environment. Despite this, our fitness actions continue to take hold and we’re clearly committed to redesigning and restructuring the underperforming parts of our business.

CFO Bob Shanks added:

The team is making the hard decisions to raise the returns of underperforming assets where we can via fitness and alternative business models, and we will disposition the rest. This type of profound redesign will take time, and we will communicate as decisions are made, such as exiting traditional sedan silhouettes in North America.

Automotive segment revenues totaled $35.9 billion for the quarter, down by $1.2 billion year over year but automotive pre-tax margin slipped by 3.3 percentage points to 3.2%.

Ford’s shares took a beating in the after-hours session, trading down about 5% at $9.99 after closing at $10.52, in a 52-week range of $10.12 to $13.48. The low was posted this morning. The consensus 12-month price target on the stock was $12.12 before this afternoon’s report was released.