Ford Deflects Volvo Sale Talk - TheStreet

Ford Deflects Volvo Sale Talk

The brand may be on the block, but the automaker says it's not in discussions with buyers.
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In response to reports that it's putting its Volvo brand up for sale amid mounting sales declines in North America,

Ford

(F) - Get Report

said Monday that it's not in talks with any potential buyers about selling the business.

A flurry of media reports over the weekend citing anonymous sources indicated that Ford is looking to sell Volvo, adding another piece of its Premier Auto Group, Ford's stable of luxury auto brands, to the auction block.

Ford spokesman Tom Hoyt declined to comment on "speculation" that the automaker has plans to sell Volvo. He noted that last month, Ford denied media reports that it was discussing a sale of Volvo to BMW.

"We're not discussing Volvo with BMW or anyone else," says Hoyt. "As far as I know, that hasn't changed."

But if, as the reports suggest, Ford has decided to sell Volvo, it would demonstrate the No. 2 U.S. automaker's heightened pressure to build up its cash reserves as it seeks to overhaul its product line and rejuvenate its business amid stiff competition from lower-cost competitors such as

Toyota

(TM) - Get Report

, which has been stealing market share from Ford,

General Motors

(GM) - Get Report

and

DaimlerChrysler

(DCX)

.

Ford sold Aston Martin, another brand from its Premier Auto Group, in March for $848 million. Last month, the company confirmed reports that it was exploring options for Jaguar and Land Rover, fueling speculation that more deals were on the way.

All this comes after the automaker unveiled a $23.4 billion financing plan late last year in which it offered up its domestic manufacturing plants and other automotive assets as collateral.

Ford acquired Volvo in 1999 for $6.45 billion. In the first quarter of this year, the brand was a chief contributor to the pretax profit of $402 million recorded by Ford's Premier Automotive Group.

Overall, Ford posted a loss of $282 million, or 15 cents a share, for the first quarter, an improvement over the loss of $1.4 billion, or 76 cents a share, it reported a year earlier.

Shares of Ford recently were down a penny to $8.96.