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http://www.detnews.com/article/20101125/AUTO01/11250345/1148/Ford-reduces-its-debt-by-$1.9B

Ford reduces its debt by $1.9B
Automaker hopes to regain investment grade status
Alisa Priddle / The Detroit News

Ford Motor Co. announced Wednesday that it expects to end the year with more cash than debt after converting $1.9 billion in debt to new common stock that will be issued at month's end.

The last time this situation occurred was the second quarter of 2008.

Debt reduction is crucial for the company that avoided following General Motor Co. and Chrysler Group LLC into bankruptcy, where those carmakers shed most of their debt. Ford mortgaged everything the company had, including its Blue Oval trademark, to restructure itself and has made cleaning up its balance sheet a priority.

The automaker seeks to get its debt back to investment grade status and start paying dividends again. To raise cash and reduce debt, Ford said in October it would make conversion offers, with cash inducements, on two convertible debt securities.

Investors had until midnight Tuesday to decide whether to participate in the special offer conversion. Ford said 74 percent chose to do so, signaling confidence in the automaker.

Ford will make a $534 million cash payment and issue 274 million shares to the noteholders. The cash premiums reflect the value of pending interest payments.

It is a good deal for both sides, said Stephen Brown, senior director of Fitch Ratings in Chicago. "For $500 million cash, Ford takes $2 billion in debt off its balance sheet," Brown said, adding that gross debt is a key factor in rating companies.

Ford lost its investment grade status in 2005. Most ratings agencies still have Ford a notch or two below the watershed mark.

Ford has reduced automotive debt $12.8 billion this year, down to about $21billion from the $34 billion it held at theend of 2009. Ford also has lowered its total annual interest costs nearly $1 billion. Debt conversions cut interest costs about $180 million.

"These successful conversion offers represent another significant step toward our goal of reducing our automotive debt and improving our balance sheet," said Chief Financial Officer Lewis Booth.


From The Detroit News: http://detnews.com/article/20101125/AUTO01/11250345/Ford-reduces-its-debt-by-$1.9B#ixzz16JDqRIXo
 

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Except all Mercury ever was, was rebadged Ford cars, and has been for decades. They offered nothing unique that made them worth buying except for the brand loyalists that steadily bought Grand Marquis'es every year.

Now if you want to take offense with them dropping the Panther platform, I can understand that. Rear-wheel drive cars handle infinitely better than front-wheel, and it's sad to see a great car platform like that get dropped.
 

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Former Ford employee pleads guilty to stealing $50M in trade secrets

Wow! Here's another surprise from Ford. :eek:

This story Dated November 24, 2010

Autoblog.com said:
Filed under: Government/Legal, Ford
According to the Department of Justice, 49 year-old Mike Yu has pleaded guilty to two counts of theft of trade secrets. Yu worked as a product engineer for Ford for 10 years before accepting a job with another company, but when he left the Blue Oval, he took more than his family photos with him when he walked out the door. The engineer copied over 4,000 Ford documents onto an external hard drive before letting the company know of his new employer. Those documents included proprietary information on everything from engine and transmission mounting designs to electrical systems and full body shells. Yu began working for Beijing Automotive Company in 2008.

Yu returned to the United States in November of that same year, and was arrested upon his arrival. The Federal Bureau of Investigation found a Beijing Automotive Company laptop among Yu's possessions at that time with 41 Ford design specification documents on its hard drive. Yu had apparently accessed those documents while working for the company.

Under his plea agreement, Yu faces up to six and a half years in prison and a $150,000 fine in addition to an agreed loss amount of between $50 million and $100 million. The former engineer will be deported after his prison time is up. Follow the jump to read the official government statement.

[Source: The Department of Justice]Continue reading Former Ford employee pleads guilty to stealing $50M in trade secrets
Former Ford employee pleads guilty to stealing $50M in trade secrets originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 24 Nov 2010 13:32:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.


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Damn, I wonder what company he was working for!
 

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So the Chinese company will be call Fured?

Big deal about deporting a Chinese national back to his home country, where he will most likely be treated like a rock-star.
 

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It is a good deal for both sides, said Stephen Brown, senior director of Fitch Ratings in Chicago. "For $500 million cash, Ford takes $2 billion in debt off its balance sheet," Brown said, adding that gross debt is a key factor in rating companies.

Ford lost its investment grade status in 2005. Most ratings agencies still have Ford a notch or two below the watershed mark.

From The Detroit News
Look for their stock price to climb again once it becomes "Investment Grade". There are plenty of people and mutual funds who can't/won't invest in any "Junk" stocks.
 

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Ford cheaped out with Mercury in the late 70's.
Before then there was a great difference.
Mercury was where ford experimented with new stuff.
 

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50 years of Mercury Cougar 1967/2017
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I was making a point.
Ford doomed the merc. brand.
GM is worse.
Blew out Olds. and pontiac, two legacy companies.
 

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Big deal, when Mercury was relevant there were only a dozen companies building off a basic car platform, Today there's 3 times the brands with an almost mandatory 5 style styles of vehicles to choose from. Ford didn't doom it, competition did.

Same goes for Olds when it went down, they went well over a decade without anything remotely exciting or distinct from other brands. Pontiac IMO was worth keeping around, they had the best cars out of the other GM brands when they were discontinued. GMC or Buick should have gotten the death blow Pontiac did.
 

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Ford

No matter how you feel.....I did enjoy having Mercurys over the years. Yes, they become nothing more than a Ford with a facelift though. So long Mercury, I'll miss you!
 

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Big deal, when Mercury was relevant there were only a dozen companies building off a basic car platform, Today there's 3 times the brands with an almost mandatory 5 style styles of vehicles to choose from. Ford didn't doom it, competition did.

Same goes for Olds when it went down, they went well over a decade without anything remotely exciting or distinct from other brands. Pontiac IMO was worth keeping around, they had the best cars out of the other GM brands when they were discontinued. GMC or Buick should have gotten the death blow Pontiac did.
Thats the thing though, if Ford needs to compete globally, they need more than two brands.

Ford competes with Honda, Toyota, Chevrolet
Mercury competes with Lexus, Infiniti, Acura
Lincoln competes with Cadillac, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Audi

I dont see how Ford will be able to make Lincoln compete with everyone...
 

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Honda/Acura, Nissan/Infinity, Toyota/Lexus, VW/Audi, Dodge/Chrysler, Ford/Lincoln... See the pattern?

Lincoln doesn't have any models to truly compete with the German Big 3 or high end Caddies. They are all Ford clones like Mercurys, only Lincoln has brand equity.

And "globally" Ford has successfully been in Europe, Australia, and South America for decades, and not only do they not have Mercury, they don't even have Lincoln. Same for the Japanese luxury cars, Acura, Infinity, and Lexus were all American inventions, everywhere else they are 1 make brands.
 

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If there was any recent drop off of a car company that really gets me, it would most definately go to GM dropping Saturn. They werent the common 'replica' of it's parent company just rebaged. Mercury is nothing but a pretty Ford as of lately........
 

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Honda/Acura, Nissan/Infinity, Toyota/Lexus, VW/Audi, Dodge/Chrysler, Ford/Lincoln... See the pattern?

Lincoln doesn't have any models to truly compete with the German Big 3 or high end Caddies. They are all Ford clones like Mercurys, only Lincoln has brand equity.

And "globally" Ford has successfully been in Europe, Australia, and South America for decades, and not only do they not have Mercury, they don't even have Lincoln. Same for the Japanese luxury cars, Acura, Infinity, and Lexus were all American inventions, everywhere else they are 1 make brands.
True, but thats where GM has the advantage with Buick going after Japan, and Cadillac going after Germany. And didnt Ford just hire the old Cadillac project manager for Lincoln?
 

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There's models from Lexus, and Infinity that compete directly with the Germans and they do just fine with it. Even if Ford did hire the Cadillac project manager, it doesn't solve the problem that every Lincoln car/suv/csuv is based directly on concurrent Ford models and there is no better platform in sight. Today the last thing Ford needs to do is start building super expensive profit killing high end luxury performance cars (they learned their lesson with the MN12/FN10 lol)

GM is not the automaker to be looking to for direction, they are the greatest example of why redundancy in a flooded market doesn't work. IMO the only reason GM kept Buick around was to keep the Chinese happy and not piss off the elderly, they LOVE Buicks :tongue:
 
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