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Report: Ford using government-backed loans to pay off debt

Aug 10th 2010 10:31 AM EDT




Ford was the only one of Detroit's three automakers able to avoid taking a direct government bailout in 2009 to bypass bankruptcy. However, that doesn't mean it hasn't been able to benefit from some government largess.

Back in 2006 before the credit markets collapsed, Ford essentially mortgaged every facility it had in order to borrow $23.5 billion. That money was used to provide operating cash flow that General Motors and Chrysler didn't have when things went south in 2008. The money allowed Ford to keep the lights on, but it also saddled the company with the debt service payments of $318 per vehicle in the second quarter of this year.

Rather than direct bailouts, Ford has been able to take advantage of several government-backed low interest loan programs like the Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing program run by the Department of Energy to fund new vehicle development and factory retooling. Ford is also getting tax breaks and low interest loans from various states as well as other countries like the UK and Russia. At the same time, it has used profits earned in the past year to pay down higher interest debt earlier than planned. In doing so, Ford hopes to get back from junk bond status to investment grade by late 2011 or early 2012.

[Source: Wall Street Journal]
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Filed under: Ford, Earnings/Financials
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