- The Washington Times - Friday, April 24, 2009

Ford Motor Co. on Friday reported a net loss of $1.4 billion for the first three months of 2009 but said it likely has enough cash to avoid taking a federal bailout and foresees breaking even in two years.

Ford, the second-biggest U.S. automaker, has not needed billions in government loans during the recession like Chrysler and General Motors, the country’s two other major automakers.

Ford said it finished the quarter with $21.3 billion in cash reserves, despite spending $3.7 billion, which was roughly $3.5 billion less than spent in the fourth quarter of 2008.

The company posted a $477 million profit a year ago.

RELATED STORY: Markets open to Ford’s upbeat report

“Our results in the first quarter reflected the extremely difficult business environment and weak demand for autos around the world,” said Alan Mulally, Ford’s president and chief executive officer.

Ford stock was up 16.04 percent, to $5.21 a share, at midday trading.

The company said it took action over the past two months to reduce debt by $10.1 billion and that it has reached a new agreement with the United Auto Workers Union.

Chrysler and General Motors are making similar efforts but their future appears much worse, including the possibility of restructuring through bankruptcy.

The $4 billion of loans Chrysler obtained from the Bush administration Treasury in January were contingent on unions agreeing to bring their wages and benefits in line with those of U.S. workers at plants owned by foreign automakers, and accepting half of company contributions to retiree health care funds in stock rather than cash.

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