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Old 07-29-2002, 06:49   #1 (permalink)
Mr. Embargo
 
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Ford's Kwik-Fit Understated Costs by $5.2 Mln, Analyst Says

By Jeff Green

Dearborn, Michigan, June 28 (Bloomberg) -- Ford Motor Co. auditor PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP found a 3.4 million pound ($5.2 million) discrepancy in the books of Kwik-Fit car-repair unit it's selling, a Merrill Lynch & Co. analyst wrote in a report.

Ford confirmed a Financial Times report today that said liabilities at Kwik-Fit were understated, analyst John Casesa wrote. Kwik-Fit received some goods from suppliers without accounting for the cost, the Financial Times reported. Casesa wrote that he doesn't consider the discrepancy to be material.

Company spokesman Ron Iori refused to comment on the Financial Times story or on Casesa's report.

Dearborn, Michigan-based Ford bought Kwik-Fit for $1.6 billion in 1999 as part of former Chief Executive Officer Jacques Nasser's plan to expand beyond automaking. The automaker put Kwik-Fit up for sale in February as part of a plan to sell assets to raise $1 billion, after Ford had a $5.45 billion loss in 2001.

Ford wants to sell all or part of Kwik-Fit; Collision Team of America, a U.S. chain of collision-repair centers; and GreenLeaf LLC, a U.S.-based automotive recycler, the No. 2 automaker has said. Goldman Sachs Group Inc. was hired assist in the sales. Simon Eaton, a spokesman for Goldman Sachs, declined to comment on the reports.

Kwik-Fit employs 11,500 people at 2,400 garages across the U.K.

Ford shares rose 56 cents to $16.33 in midday trading.

Source: (www.bloomberg.com)
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