Ford surprises stockholders with a dividend boost of 9%

April 11, 1997|By BLOOMBERG NEWS

DETROIT -- Ford Motor Co. said yesterday it boosted its quarterly dividend a greater-than-expected 9 percent because of its increasing profitability.

Ford declared a second-quarter dividend of 42 cents a share, up from the 38.5 cents that has been paid each quarter since the third quarter of 1996. The dividend is payable June 2 to holders of record May 2.

Ford was expected to increase its dividend 7 percent or more by Bear Stearns & Co. analyst Nick Lobaccaro. He said Wednesday that the company was "on the cusp of a very powerful earnings recovery" driven by cost cutting, products and improved overseas operations.

Ford stock fell 25 cents to 32.625 yesterday, after rising 2.7 percent Wednesday on Lobaccaro's forecast.

"Today's action reflects continued improvement in our operations that stem directly from higher automotive margins and lower costs," Alex Trotman, Ford chairman and chief executive, said in a statement.

Ford is expected to earn 87 cents a share in the first quarter, based on an IBES International Inc. survey of 15 analysts. It is scheduled to report earnings April 16.

Ford has said it expects to at least break even in Europe this year, where it reported a loss of $291 million last year.

Pub Date: 4/11/97

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