Autos

Ford shares plunge after earnings fall short, 2019 forecast disappoints

Key Points
  • Ford shares fell after the company reported second-quarter earnings that were short of expectations.
  • The automaker also issued its 2019 forecast, but it too came in below estimates. 
  • Ford, which has slashed thousands of jobs this year, is also investing $11 billion by 2022 in electric and hybrid vehicles.
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Ford reports EPS miss at $0.28 vs. $0.31 expected, revenues beat expectations

Ford shares plunged Wednesday after the automaker reported second-quarter earnings that were short of expectations and issued a disappointing forecast for the year.

Ford, which has slashed thousands of jobs this year, is also investing $11 billion by 2022 in electric and hybrid vehicles to try to keep pace in a changing industry.

"Midway through this key year of action, we are pleased with the progress we are making toward creating a more dynamic and profitable business," Chief Executive Jim Hackett said in a statement. "In this time of profound change in our industry, Ford has amazing opportunities to delight customers, innovate and collaborate in new ways, and create value."

But shares fell sharply, down more than 6% in extended trading. Investors have been hopeful about the steps Ford has been taking, and had pushed its stock up more than 34% year-to-date through Wednesday.

Here's what the company reported vs. what Wall Street analysts expected, based on average estimates compiled by Refinitiv:

  • Adjusted earnings per share: 28 cents per share, vs. estimates of 31 cents per share
  • Automotive revenue: $35.76 billion vs estimate of $35.07 billion

The automaker said second-quarter net income fell to $148 million, or 4 cents per share, hurt mainly by efforts to restructure its business in Europe and South America. Excluding these charges, Ford earned 28 cents per share, which was lower than the 31 cents per share analysts were expecting.

Those results included a loss from an investment the company made in Pivotal Software. Excluding this item, Ford woudl have earned 32 cents per share, the company said.

Total revenue fell to $38.85 billion from $38.92 billion a year earlier, and automotive revenue inched up to $35.76 billion, topping estimates of $35.07 billion.

Most of Ford's second-quarter profit came from North America. Ford said that the F-Series led the pickup market, and that its Ranger also performed well. Ford's newest SUVs, which include the Expedition, EcoSport and Edge, together accounted for a 14% sales boost in the second quarter.

The company is introducing new versions of the Explorer and Escape this year, and said it will have "the freshest SUV lineup in the industry" by the end of 2019, according to the release.

The company boasted a small profit in Europe, but posted a loss in China.

Second-quarter sales in China fell 21.7%. Ford said its China team has taken actions to stabilize sales and has "aggressively" reduced inventory, which finished the quarter at its lowest level in the past 18 months, the company said.

On the earnings call Wednesday, Ford CEO Jim Hackett said that the company is looking to double profitability in commercial vehicles in Europe over the next five years.

Ford CFO Tim Stone added that the company, which is in early stages of restructuring, is starting to see improvements in free cash flow. He expects even better results in the second half of 2019 as restructuring progresses and more SUVs hit the market.

Ford now expects it will earn $1.20 to $1.35 per share, on an adjusted basis, in 2019 compared with $1.30 per share a year earlier. This was the first time Ford had issued an earning forecast for the year, but it was below the $1.39 per share analysts surveyed by Refinitiv were expecting.

Correction: Ford earned 28 cents per share in the second quarter, falling short of analyst estimates. A previous version of this story excluded a loss from an investment in Pivotal Software.