(By Balachander) Ford Motor Co. (NYSE: F) reported flat quarterly earnings, as wider pre-tax loss in Europe offset strong results at North America.
Pre-tax earnings per share (EPS) increased 18 percent to 40 cents from 34 cents, versus consensus estimate of 30 cents. Net earnings were flat at $1.6 billion.
Revenue fell 3 percent to $32.1 billion, while Wall Street analysts projected flat revenue.
For the third consecutive quarter, Ford North America pre-tax earnings exceeded $2 billion, and its operating margin exceeded 10 percent. Ford started North American business unit separately after 2000.
Europe suffered a wider pre-tax loss of $468 million from $306 million last year on weak industry volumes and unfavorable dealer stock changes.
"The Ford team delivered a best-ever third quarter, driven by record results in North America and the continued strength of Ford Credit," said CEO Alan Mulally.
"While we are facing near-term challenges in Europe, we are fully committed to transforming our business in Europe by moving decisively to match production to demand, improve revenue through new products and a stronger brand, improve our cost efficiencies and take advantage of opportunities to profitably grow our business."
Ford Europe's results reflected unfavorable market factors, including the lowest level of industry sales in almost 20 years, the company said.
Ford last week announced a series of actions to restore its European operations to profitability by mid-decade, targeting a long-term operating margin for Ford Europe of 6 to 8 percent.
In the third quarter, production was about 1.4 million units, 24,000 units higher than a year ago, but 45,000 units below Ford's forecast, reflecting primarily parts supply issues on several products.
For the fourth quarter, Ford expects production to be about 1.5 million units, up 112,000 from a year ago, reflecting higher volume in all regions except Europe.
Looking ahead for the full year, the company now expects Ford Europe's pre-tax loss to exceed $1.5 billion. Ford expects total pre-tax operating profit to be strong.
The stock, which has been trading in the 52-week range of $8.82 to $13.05, closed previous trading session at $10.36.