Ford Motor Co. has posted its biggest profit since 1999 – although the numbers fell more than a billion dollars short of what many had anticipated the automaker would announce.
Ford officials said they earned $6.6 billion in 2010, which will trigger profit-sharing checks for 40,600 U.S. hourly workers of $5,000, more than union members have taken home since 2001, when profit sharing generated payments of $6,700.
“We’ve always said that all our stakeholders will benefit from the growth of the company and improving profitability, and I think this is a specific reflection of that,” said Ford Chief Financial Officer Lewis Booth. “It’s a delight to be paying profit sharing.”
One reason the maker fell short of analyst expectations was the one-time, $960 million charge it took to cover the cost of paying down debt. The maker took the prescient step of lining up extensive financing sources as the nation fell into recession. But it is now racing to pay down those loans and trim its operating costs. CEO Alan Mulally, in November, authorized paying down another $1.9 billion in outstanding debt.