Ford braced for $600 million Brexit currency hit

Fri Jan 27, 2017 1:40pm EST
 
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By Laurence Frost

PARIS (Reuters) - Ford's (F.N: Quote) 2017 earnings will be hit by a delayed currency impact of at least $600 million from Britain's vote to leave the European Union, the U.S. carmaker told Reuters, putting last year's record European profit levels beyond reach.

The company will no longer benefit from currency hedges that had been shielding it from the pound's slump since the June 23 referendum, Ford of Europe boss Jim Farley said on Friday.

"When Brexit happened we were fully hedged for the first quarter with the stronger pre-Brexit exchange rate," Farley said. "As we enter the rest of the year, especially the second half, we now face the full effects of the weaker sterling."

Ford is Britain's biggest engine maker as well as its top-ranked car brand by sales, with a 12 percent market share. The UK government has said it will trigger the two-year process for exiting the EU by the end of March.

The pound hit a seven-year low against the euro in October and remains almost one-fifth below its value at the end of 2015, when uncertainty over Brexit began to weigh. GBP=

Sterling's slump is the "only major headwind" Ford currently faces in Europe, Farley said. "We think it could be upwards of $600 million this year."

Farley was speaking a day after Ford published 2016 results that included a record $1.2 billion European profit, while reiterating that this year's global earnings would be lower. Its shares ended 3.3 percent lower on Thursday.

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Jim Farley, executive vice president and president of Ford EMEA poses next to the new Ford Vignale car at the 86th International Motor Show in Geneva, Switzerland, March 1, 2016.  REUTERS/Denis Balibouse