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Old 07-21-2006, 05:26   #1 (permalink)
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UK:Ford of Europe still on track for 2006 profit

Ford of Europe still on track for 2006 profit

Reuters

LONDON -- Ford brand operations in Europe are still on track this year to make an annual profit for the third year in a row, Ford of Europe CEO John Fleming told Reuters on Thursday.

"Year to date we are (at) a $196 million profit. Our intention is still to make a profit in the year as well, even though I can't say whether it is going to increase from where it is," he said in a telephone interview. "We'll stick with what we have made as the forecast and that is we will be profitable in 2006."

Ford of Europe earned $129 million in 2005.

Despite an unfavorable mix of vehicle sales and lower net pricing, Ford of Europe's second-quarter pretax profit excluding special items rose to $105 million from $66 million a year earlier thanks to lower material costs.

Other carmakers and suppliers have complained that rising raw material prices are a drag on profits, but Fleming said Ford of Europe had worked closely with suppliers to cut the cost of components. He declined to be more specific.

"Raw materials prices are increasing, steel is still high, oil-based commodities are very high so there is a lot of pressure there at the moment," he said.

Sales revenue fell to $7.4 billion from $7.9 billion, but Fleming said this mainly reflected dollar exchange rates.

"What appears to be going down in real terms isn't. It's just the dollar translation," he said.

He said Ford of Europe was not affected in the quarter by the expiry of favorable currency hedges that hit Ford's Premier Automotive Group of European premium brands including Volvo, Jaguar, Land Rover and Aston Martin.
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