Shedding debt and liabilities has become one of the key strategies for Ford Motor Co. CEO Alan Mulally, and the maker’s latest move is to offer buyouts to 98,000 salaried and white-collar retirees in an effort to trim by a third Ford’s overall $49 billion in U.S. pension liabilities.
The maker says it does not yet have a clear indication of how many of its retirees will accept the new offer but it needs to take steps to deal with a looming problem that has been weighing down its balance sheet. On a global basis, Ford’s $74 billion pension liabilities were underfunded by $15.4 billion at the end of last year.
The program will be rolled out in waves, according to a company official, with offers going out to between 12,000 and 15,000 retirees by the end of the third quarter. The rest will roll out over the following year, with the offers being made by random selection.