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Ford Posts Profit After Debt Reduction Promises To Break Even 2011

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Ford Motor posted a $2.3 billion quarterly net profit, mainly due to gains from a $10 billion debt-reduction plan, and said it was on track to at least break even in 2011, sending its shares up 10 percent.
Ford posted an operating loss for the quarter that was better than analysts expected, excluding a net gain of $2.8 billion from one-time items that included the debt-reduction actions, despite reeling global markets that helped push US rivals General Motors and Chrysler into bankruptcy.
Ford expects the US economy to start to come back in the third quarter, with further improvement in the fourth quarter and into 2010, but it is “still a very fragile economy,” Chief Executive Alan Mulally said in a conference call.
An overall and North American profit in 2011 would be the first such mark for the US automaker since 2004.
Ford posted a net profit of 69 cents per share for the second quarter, versus a net loss of $2.7 billion, or $3.89 per share, a year earlier.
The loss from continuing operations and excluding one-time items was $638 million, or 21 cents per share. Analysts on average had expected a loss of 50 cents per share on that basis, according to Reuters Estimates.
Revenue fell to $27.2 billion in the quarter, from $38.2 billion a year earlier. Analysts had expected $23.39 billion.
Ford said its auto business burned through $1 billion in cash in the second quarter, an easing from the first quarter’s $3.7 billion outflow. The automaker said it expects cash flow to improve the rest of the year.
“The cash burn is really being wiped off quickly,” said Erich Merkle, president of auto consulting firm Autoconomy.com. “They are well ahead of schedule. I think Ford returning to profitability will be sooner than most expect.”
Ford cut its automotive debt by about $10 billion by completing a series of transactions in early April, and raised $1.6 billion through a public stock offering in May, using proceeds to support funding for a US union retiree healthcare trust. It expects to pursue more balance sheet improvements.
Meanwhile, Ford executives have said the company has sufficient liquidity to complete a turnaround plan, leaving investors focused on cash preservation and debt reduction.
The automotive business ended June with $21.0 billion in cash, compared with $21.3 billion at the end of March. Its debt burden stood at $26.1 billion at the end of June, down from $32.1 billion at the end of March.
The company borrowed $23 billion in 2006, secured by most of its remaining assets, including the Blue Oval logo, to support a multilayered restructuring and now carries a far heavier debt burden than post-bankruptcy GM and Chrysler.
Ford posted losses totaling $30 billion from 2006 through 2008 – including a company record of $14.7 billion last year – and reported a $1.43 billion loss in the first quarter.
The Dearborn, Michigan-based automaker has been navigating a US downturn now in its fourth year with industry sales reaching their worst levels in three decades. It has not taken emergency US government loans.
Ford’s US sales fell about 33 percent in the first half of 2009, the best result among the top six-selling automakers.
Overall, Ford expects US auto industry sales of 10.5 million to 11 million vehicles in 2009, including medium and heavy duty trucks. Ford’s planning assumptions for 2010 call for US industry sales of 12.5 million vehicles next year.
The automaker is restructuring to operate profitably in a smaller US auto market and to meet an expected increase in consumer preferences for cars over larger SUVs and pickup trucks that drove profits a decade ago.
About 1,000 United Auto Workers-represented hourly employees accepted buyouts or early retirements in its latest offer, leaving Ford with about 47,000 hourly workers, a level it is comfortable with, the automaker said.
In recent weeks, Ford also reached an agreement with the UAW to adjust its funding options for the retiree healthcare trust, known as a Voluntary Employee Beneficiary Association.
The agreement gives Ford the option to make half of its required contributions in stock at the market rate for payments due in 2009, 2010 and 2011, rather than a fixed stock price, making it potentially less dilutive with the shares rising.
The automaker remains in talks with the UAW on other issues to ensure that Ford has a labor cost parity following the concessions the union granted to GM and Chrysler.
The automaker has sold several businesses to raise cash and focus its operations including its Aston Martin, Jaguar and Land Rover brands from its former premier auto group. Ford is also entertaining offers for its Volvo brand.
Booth said Ford was talking to a number of interested parties for Volvo, the Swedish luxury car brand that is the last member left from its premier auto group.
Ford Credit, the automaker’s captive financing arm, reported net income of $413 million in the quarter, up from a $1.4 billion net loss a year earlier.
Ford shares were up 65 cents or 10.2 percent at $7.03 on Thursday on the New York Stock Exchange, a 14-month high.

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Senate Confirms Cardoso, 11 Others As Monetary Policy Committee Members 

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The Senate has confirmed the nomination of Olayemi Cardoso as the chairman of the Monetary Policy Committee of the Central Bank of Nigeria.

Also confirmed for appointment as members of the MPC yesterday, include, Muhammad Abdullahi, (CBN deputy governor), Bala Bello (CBN deputy governor), Emem Usoro (CBN deputy governor), Philip Ikeazor (CBN deputy governor), Lamido Yuguda, (DG Securities and Exchange Commission) and Jafiya Lydia Shehu, (Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Finance).

Others are Murtala Sabo Sagagi (CBN director) Aloysius  Ordu, Aku Odukemelu, Mustapha Akinwunmi, and Bamidele Amoo.

President Bola Tinubu had on Wednesday named Cardoso as the chairman and 11 others as members of the MPC.

Tinubu in his letter of nomination to the Senate, said his action was in line with the provisions of Section 12 of the Central Bank of Nigeria Act 2007.

The President had about a week ago asked the Senate to confirm Cardoso, as the chairman of the Monetary Policy Committee of the apex bank.

CBN MPC will hold its first policy meeting for the year on February 26 and 27.

The Senate had , on Wednesday, screened the nominated members of the CBN Monetary Policy Committee, questioning them on the lingering foreign exchange and food crises.

 

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‘Unemployment Rate Hit 0.8% In 2023 Q3’

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The unemployment rate in Nigeria rose by 0.8percent in the third quarter of 2023.
According to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), this was a significant rise, adding that the unemployment rate rose from the 4.2percent recorded in Q2 2023 to 5.0 percent in Q3 2023.
The NBS, the custodian of official statistics in the country, disclosed this in a report it published last Monday titled “Nigeria Labour Force Survey Q3 2023”.
“The employment-to-population ratio was 75.6 percent in Q3 2023 with a decrease of 1.5 percent compared to a ratio of Q2 2023.
“The combined rate of unemployment and time-related underemployment as a share of the labour force population (LU2) increased to 17.3percent in Q3 2023 from 15.5percent in Q2 2023.
“About 87.3 percent of workers were self-employed in Q3 2023. The proportion of workers in Wage Employment in Q3 2023 was 12.7 percent.
“The unemployment rate increased significantly in Q3 2023 at 5.0 percent. This is an increase of 0.8 percent from Q2 2023.
“The rate of unemployment among persons with post-secondary education was 7.8 percent in Q3 2023”, the report stated in part.
It added that the unemployment rate for youth between the ages of 15 and 24 years was recorded at 8.6 per cent in Q3 2023 while the informal employment rate in Q3 2023 was 92.3 per cent.
The report added, “The unemployment rate in urban areas was 6.0 percent percentin Q3 2023, a slight increase of 0.1 percent from Q2 2023.
“Time-related underemployment in Q3 2023 was 12.3 percent, showing a slight increase of 0.5 percent from the rate recorded in Q2 2023. This shows an increase of 1.4 percent compared to the rate in Q4 2022.
“4.1percent of the working-age population was in subsistence agriculture in Q3 2023. Informal employment rate in Q3 2023 was 92.3percent, while Q2 2023 was 92.7percent.
“Percentage of youth Not in Employment, Education or Training was 13.7percent in Q3 2023”.
Recall that Nigeria’s inflation rate last Thursday climbed to 29.90 per cent in January 2024 from 28.92 per cent recorded in the previous month.
The 0.98 percent increase shows that the inflation rate in the country is yet to slow down.
The NBS revealed this in its ‘Consumer Price Index’
The development adds more pressure on the Central Bank’s monetary policy committee to sharply raise interest rates at a February  26-27 meeting its first in seven months.

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Merchant Navy Lauds NIWA Over Staff Welfare

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The Nigerian Merchant Navy Officers and Water Transport Senior Staff Association (NMNO/WTSSA) has expressed optimism that the Managing Director of National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA), Mr. Bola Oyebamiji, will prioritise workers welfare for optimal performance of the agency.
Jibril Darda’u, General Manager, Corporate Affairs, NIWA, in a statement over the weekend, disclosed that the seafarers’ union’s remarks are one of the highlights of the meeting between the Trade Union Congress (TUC) affiliate group and management of the agency.
The statement quoted the Chairman of the NMNO/WTSSA, Comrade Suleiman Danjuma, as commending the Managing Director of NIWA for the good initiative of the kind of interaction that brings the staff closer to the management.
“This will definitely boost the morale of the staff and pledge their loyalty and confidence in the Managing Director’s leadership style”, Danjuma stated.
Earlier, the Managing Director of NIWA promised to build on the progress already achieved at the Lokoja River Port, Kogi State.
The MD disclosed this when he went on a familiarisation tour of NIWA’s facilities in Lokoja.
According to the MD, the importance of Lokoja River Port being in the confluence State is to boost the economic viability of the State and Nigeria at large.
“We are here for facility tour to see for ourselves what is on ground at Jamata Port, Lokoja. It is important we come here to assess the facilities to see, at least, how we can move the facilities forward”, he stated.
Recall that in continuation of his familiarisation tour, the Managing Director’s visited the NIWA Lokoja Area office to inspect the Dockyard facilities.

Nkpemenyie Mcdominic, Lagos

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