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Ford Shocks Street, Conventional Wisdom, Shareholders to Turn Profit

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The Ford Motor Co. nailed a quarterly profit for the first time in two years, it was announced today. (Ford purists will be happy to know that in spite of gains, the automaker continued its red-hot losing streak in its core market of North American SUV/oil enthusiast). Ford, in the throes of a restructuring program that will close 16 plans and slash up to 45,000 jobs, made a net profit of $750 million (31 cents/share), versus last year’s $317 million (17 cents/share) loss. Profits from continuing operations handily beat the Street’s expectations of a loss of 37 cents/share with a 13 cents/share gain.
Profits were posted in all regions excluding North America, which lost $279 million, marking an improvement from last year’s $789 million loss. Ford said that profitability is not in the cards for North America until 2009, if ever.
Lest we take this as some sort of sign that the tide is turning for Ford’s Fjords, cynics should be pleased to note that the swing to profit may throw a wrench in F’s plans to F its workers during negotiations with the United Automobile Workers union this summer. That the automaker is not hurting for cash did not escape union prez Ron Gettelfinger, who the Times reports declined to comment on how Ford’s $12.6 billion 2006 loss would affect dialogue but noted, “They have a lot of cash, by the way.”
Ford swings to surprising 2nd-quarter profit [Reuters]