Ford Australia has posted a substantial $274.4 million loss for last year but says much of that involves restructuring costs that will place it in a better position to move forward.
Restructuring charges cost it $162.2 million and came as sales revenue fell 7.4 per cent, lead by a declining interest in the Ford Falcon large car, which has been the company’s mainstay in the past.
In addition the collapse of the stock market meant the company had to contribute $151 million to prop up its employee superannuation scheme.
The losses reported by Ford Motor Company of Australia, which is wholly owned by Ford in the United States, have more than tripled from the $87.2 million reported in 2007.
However, the company said it had “proactively restructured its operations” in the past year and is in a strong position to deal with the future.
“This was a challenging year as the Australian market was affected by the global economic slowdown, but Ford Australia’s underlying business continued to improve with strong new vehicle launches and our continued progress in lowering costs and gaining efficiencies,” said Ford Australia President and CEO Marin Burela.
Net sales revenue for 2008 was $3.29 billion, down $168 million from one year ago. The results were based on total volumes of 108,564 units, including exports, down 5319 units from a year ago.
“We are continuing to improve our business fundamentals and implement our strategic plan as we move through 2009,” said Mr Burela.
Ford said the one-off $162.2m restructuring charge included write-downs on the value of some assets.
Ford said it had the continued support of its US parent company, which provides the Australian arm with a revolving $900 million loan.
“Our current cash flow forecasts indicate a return to positive operating cash flows in 2009,” the Australian company said.
“Furthermore, if required, we could receive additional support from Ford US to continue our operations.”
A $52.2 million impairment loss was largely attributable to “the downturn in the global economy and the deteriorated outlook for the automotive industry both in Australia and overseas markets”, Ford said in its annual report.