Ford first-quarter profit misses expectations, 2015 profit outlook affirmed

Tue Apr 28, 2015 12:32pm EDT
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By Bernie Woodall and Ben Klayman

DEARBORN, Mich. (Reuters) - Ford Motor Co (F.N: Quote) reported a first-quarter profit that was less than analysts expected, selling fewer vehicles in North America as it worked to increase production of the redesigned F-150 pickup truck, and losing money in South America.

The No. 2 U.S. automaker on Tuesday also maintained its full-year forecast of pretax profit between $8.5 billion and $9.5 billion.

The company raised its forecast for North American operating margin to 8.5 percent to 9.5 percent from 8 percent to 9 percent as the F-150 launch goes better than expected, but Ford said business conditions were worsening in South America.

“The external environment in South America has deteriorated compared to where we were just a few months ago," Ford Chief Financial Officer Bob Shanks told reporters.

Instead of reporting a "substantial" improvement from last year's $1.16 billion loss in South America, as it had forecast in January, Ford dropped "substantial" from its outlook.

Ford's overall first-quarter net income fell 7 percent to $924 million, or 23 cents a share, from $989 million, or 24 cents a share, a year earlier. Analysts expected earnings of 26 cents a share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Revenue fell 5.6 percent to $33.9 billion, matching expectations.

Ford said 2 cents of the 3-cent profit shortfall was due to a tax rate that was higher than analysts expected.   Continued...

The Ford logo is pictured at the Ford Motor Co plant in Genk December 17, 2014. REUTERS/Francois Lenoir