Jan 30, 2009

Business - Ford loses $5.9 bn in last quarter of 2008

New York, Jan 30 (DPA) US automotive concern Ford reported Thursday that it lost $5.9 billion in the final quarter of 2008, boosting the full-year losses to $14.6 billion.

The quarterly loss amounts to $2.46 per share, and is nearly double the net loss of $2.8 billion in the year-earlier period. Excluding one-time costs, the loss for the fourth quarter was $3.3 billion, or $1.37 per share.

Ford again insisted it would not need the billions of dollars' worth of emergency federal assistance for the car industry, in contrast to General Motors and Chrysler which took the emergency support earlier this month.

Still, the auto giant was burning through its cash reserves. It used $5.5 billion of reserves in the final quarter, leaving it with $13.4 billion on hand.

The carmaker said it would cut another 1,200 jobs in its finance unit, as it trims thousands of positions amid declining sales.

Sales plunged by one-third to $29.2 billion in the quarter, the company said. Full-year sales in 2008 came to $146.3 billion, down 15 percent. The carmaker sold 1.14 million vehicles worldwide in the quarter and 5.4 million for the year, down 18 percent from 2007 as buyers who had long been turning to foreign carmakers stayed away altogether amid a weaker economy that made it more difficult to secure loans.

Ford said it expects to return its operating results to the black by the year 2011, in keeping with its previous projections.

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