Ford Motor's CEO Discusses Q1 2012 Results - Earnings Call Transcript

Ford Motor (F)

Q1 2012 Earnings Call

April 27, 2012 9:00 am ET

Executives

George Sharp - Director of Investor Relations

Alan R. Mulally - Chief Executive Officer, President, Executive Director and Member of Finance Committee

Robert L. Shanks - Chief Financial Officer, Executive Vice President, Chief Accounting Officer and Chairman of Global Risk Management Committee

Analysts

Peter Nesvold

Itay Michaeli - Citigroup Inc, Research Division

Rod Lache - Deutsche Bank AG, Research Division

Christopher J. Ceraso - Crédit Suisse AG, Research Division

Patrick Archambault - Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Research Division

Colin Langan - UBS Investment Bank, Research Division

Joseph Spak - RBC Capital Markets, LLC, Research Division

John Murphy - BofA Merrill Lynch, Research Division

Presentation

Operator

Good day, ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to Ford's First Quarter Earnings Conference Call hosted by George Sharp. My name is Sue, and I'm your event manager. [Operator Instructions] I would like to advise all parties this conference is being recorded for replay purposes, and now I'd like to hand over to George. Thank you.

George Sharp

Thank you, Susan, and good morning, ladies and gentlemen. Welcome to all of you who are joining us today either by phone or webcast. On behalf of the entire Ford management team, I'd like to thank you for spending time with us this morning, so we can provide you with additional details of our first quarter financial results. Presenting today are Alan Mulally, our President and CEO of Ford; and Bob Shanks, Chief Financial Officer. Also in attendance are Stuart Rowley, Corporate Controller; Neil Schloss, Corporate Treasurer; Paul Andonian, Director of Accounting; and Mike Seneski, Ford Credit CFO.

Now before we begin, I'd like to cover a few items. Copies of today's press release and the presentation slides that we will be using have been posted on Ford's investor and media website for your reference. The financial results discussed today are presented on a preliminary basis. Final data will be included in our form 10-Q that will be filed next month. The financial results presented are on a GAAP basis and in some cases, on a non-GAAP basis. The non-GAAP financial measures discussed in this call are reconciled to the U.S. GAAP equivalent as part of the appendix to the slide deck.

Finally, today's presentation includes some forward-looking statements about our expectations for Ford's future performance. Of course, actual results could differ materially from those suggested by our comments today. The most significant factors that could affect future results are summarized at the end of this presentation. These risk factors and other key information are detailed in our SEC filings, including our annual, quarterly and current reports.

With that, I'd now like to turn the presentation over to Ford's President and CEO, Mr. Alan Mulally.

Alan R. Mulally

Thank you, George, and good morning, everyone. We are pleased to have the opportunity today to review our first quarter business performance and the progress we continue to make in delivering our plans.

Let's start by turning to Slide 3. For the first quarter of 2012, we delivered our 11th consecutive quarterly pretax operating profit and generated positive Automotive operating-related cash flow, although wholesale volume and total company revenue were slightly lower than a year ago due to the results in Europe. Ford North America achieved its highest operating profit since at least 2000, and Ford Credit remains solidly profitable. South America was profitable as well, but Europe and Asia-Pacific and Africa incurred losses. Today, we are also reconfirming that the total company full year pretax operating profit is expected to be about the same as in 2011, and we are announcing new actions to further de-risk our pension obligations. And we have -- and as we have done consistently over the past few years, we continued in the quarter to invest for future growth and stronger product lineup around the world. As a result, we remain on track to achieve our mid-decade outlook.

Let's look more closely now to the financial highlights for the quarter. Slide 4 summarizes our first quarter business results compared with a year ago.

Wholesale volume was about 1.4 million units, down 45,000 units or 3% from a year ago. Revenue was about $32 billion, a decline of $700 million or about 2%. Pretax operating profit, excluding special items, was $2.3 billion, $544 million lower than a year ago. Earnings were $0.39 per share, $0.08 lower than last year's earnings per share, adjusted for the tax valuation allowance release. Net income attributable to Ford, including the unfavorable pretax special items of $255 million, was $1.4 billion or $0.35 per share, a $1.2 billion decrease from a year ago. And about half of that increase in net income reflects higher tax expense related to the valuation allowance released in the fourth quarter of 2011, with the balance explained by lower operating results and increased special charges.

Automotive operating-related cash flow was $900 million, the eighth consecutive quarter of positive performance. We ended the quarter with $23 billion of Automotive gross cash and with Automotive gross cash exceeding debt by $9.3 billion. This is a net cash improvement of $4.6 billion compared with a year ago.

Overall, we had a strong start to the year, reflecting the continued success of our ONE Ford plan.

There are a number of other business highlights in the quarter as shown on Slide 5. First, we continued our strong cadence of global new product introductions and concept reveals, starting with the EcoSport in India and Brazil, followed by the Fusion and the Lincoln MKZ Concept in the U.S. In Europe, we also introduced the B-MAX, the Fiesta ST, the Kuga and Tourneo Custom Concept. In March, our CFMA joint venture opened a second assembly plant in Chongqing, increasing our passenger car capacity in China by 1/3. We delivered our 4 million SYNC system in the U.S. and announced that the new B-MAX will be the first product in Europe to offer SYNC.

We paid our first quarterly dividend since 2006 and also declared a dividend for the second quarter. We also took additional steps to improve our liquidity by completing an amendment and extension of our revolving credit facility, resulting in $9 billion committed until November of 2015.

Now I'd like to turn it over to Bob Shanks, who will take us through more details of our financial results. Bob?

Robert L. Shanks

Thanks, Alan, and good morning, everyone.

Let's start with Slide 7, which shows our financial results compared with a year ago. As Alan mentioned, pretax operating profit was $2.3 billion, and net income attributable to Ford was $1.4 billion. Pretax special items totaled a negative $255 million, $194 million worse than a year ago, reflecting primarily buyouts and hourly employees in the U.S. in line with the recent UAW agreement. As Alan noted, the increase in the provision for income taxes is more than explained by the effect of the release of our tax valuation allowance in 2011. Consistent with prior guidance, we expect our full year operating effective tax rate for 2012 to be similar to that in 2011.

Read the rest of this transcript for free on seekingalpha.com