Hope Springs Eternal: New Guidance From Ford (F)

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When Ford Motor Co. (NYSE: F) reported third-quarter results in late October, the company also withdrew its previous guidance, citing pending ratification of an agreement with the United Auto Workers union. The share price fell by more than 12%.

Before U.S. markets opened on Thursday, the automaker announced new fiscal year 2023 guidance. CFO John Lawler will discuss Ford’s guidance later in the day at the Barclays automotive and mobility conference.

What Ford walked back in October

The withdrawn guidance, which had been increased in July, included the following full-year targets:

  • Consolidated, adjusted EBIT: $11 to $12 billion
  • Adjusted free cash flow: $6.5 to $7 billion
  • Capital spending: $8 to $9 billion

Ford also withdrew full-year EBIT guidance for each of its three automotive business groups. The nearly $8 billion forecast for Ford Pro, the company’s truck and van division which also includes its electrified trucks, was pulled. A similar forecast for its Ford Blue (internal combustion engine vehicles) was also withdrawn. Ford also withdrew its estimated loss of about $4.5 billion in the EV group.

New guidance is better than no guidance

Ford’s new full-year guidance reflects the effects of the UAW strike:

  • Consolidated, adjusted EBIT: $10 to $10.5 billion
  • Adjusted free cash flow: $5 to $5.5 billion

While the company did not provide guidance for capital spending and its three business groups, Ford noted that at the end of the third quarter, it had already generated $4.9 billion of net income and $9.4 billion of adjusted EBIT, “prior to full effects of the work stoppage.”

The UAW strike cost the company $1.7 billion in lost profits. Of that total, $1.6 billion will be recorded in the fourth quarter. Interruptions in the production of high-margin trucks and SUVs cut wholesale sales volumes by about 100,000 units.

The new cost of labor

Ford also said that the new labor agreement will cost $8.8 billion through the contract term ending April 30, 2028. That will raise the price of a Ford vehicle by $900 by the end of the contract, equal to about 60 to 70 basis points of EBIT margin. Ford expects to offset the increased costs “through higher productivity and lower expenses.”

Ford stock traded up by more than 1% in Thursday’s premarket at $10.71. The stock’s 52-week range is $9.63 to $15.42. Shares added more than 2% on Wednesday on trading volume of more than 76 million shares, about 50% more than the daily average of around 51 million. Ford pays an annual dividend of $0.60 per share for a yield of 5.67%.

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