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Should Ford Investors Expect a Dividend?

The once-ailing Ford Motor might be on track to return some of its profits to shareholders, Cramer said Tuesday.

The possibility of a dividend payout came up during the Mad Money host’s interview with CEO Alan Mulally, who took the chance to tout his company’s most recent quarter. Operations across the globe, including the US, were profitable, Mulally said, and next year should be better. Also, $7 billion worth of debt was paid down, with guidance being offered that Ford would hold more cash than debt on the balance sheet by the end of 2011.

The quarter ranked as “probably the best we’ve had in 10 years,” Mulally said, adding that Ford was “on our way to where we all want to be, and that’s investment grade.”

It was this shoring up of the balance sheet that prompted Cramer’s prediction.

“It wasn’t really answered on the call,” he said, “but I think there’s a chance for a dividend for common shareholders, too, within the next 18 months.”

Mulally wouldn’t confirm that that was the plan, saying only, “We didn’t give guidance on the dividend. But you know we are dedicated to profitable growth for all, especially the shareholders.”

The CEO said the most important goal for Ford right now is to “get back to investment grade,” meaning he wants the highest possible rating on the company’s credit. With the free-cash flows the company is enjoying, though, there are now options to accelerate the process.

“And then we have great options on how we reward all the participants,” or Ford’s investors, Mulally said.

Cramer and Mulally also touched on job creation in this country, business in China and the host of new cars Ford is releasing. Watch the full interview by clicking here.

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