Ford Motor Co. received a bit of good news on the financial front as Moody’s Investors Service upgraded the company’s credit rating despite the battering the company’s stock price has taken since the start of the year.
Moody’s said in a new report the long-term ratings of Ford Motor Co. and Ford Motor Credit Co. were being raised to Baa2 from Baa3. In addition, the short-term rating of Ford Credit is upgraded to Prime-2 from Prime-3. The outlook for both companies is stable, Moody’s said.
The higher credit rating lowers Ford’s day-to-day borrowing costs, improving the automaker’s bottom line.
However, Ford stock, like the shares of its competitors General Motors and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, have been hammered during the recent market route by the perception that auto sales are peaking. Ford shares finished 2015 trading at $14.09 per share and closed $11.87 per share Tuesday.
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In a report that accompanied the upgrade, Moody’s analysts pointed to a number of factors that contributed to the upgrade of the company’s credit, which reflects the service’s best estimate of the company’s performance in the future.
The upgrade of Ford’s ratings reflect the company’s progress in establishing a more competitive and sustainable operating model for the company and the company’s ability to “contend with cyclical downturns, unexpected operational challenges and the probability of intensifying competitive threats,” Moody’s analysts noted in their report.
“The key factor in the Ford upgrade is our conclusion that the company has the operational and financial resources necessary to contend with and recover from the stress that it will eventually face,” said Bruce Clark, senior vice president with Moody’s.
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The report also noted that Ford had a very strong performance during 2015 and the company’s positive momentum should continue through 2016.
The successful launch of the new aluminum body F-150 was one major accomplishment, the report said.
In addition, Ford’s reaching break-even performance in Europe following extensive restructuring actions and building a competitive and profitable position in China also impressed the analysts.
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“Favorable market conditions in the form of healthy demand and favorable pricing in North America; low gas prices; recovering demand in Europe; and still-growing demand in China,” also bolsters Ford’s position, Moody’s said in its analysis of Ford’s position.