Ford to regain investment grade sooner than expected, says CEO Mulally

Article by Christian Andrei, on September 17, 2010

Ford Motor Co. CEO Alan Mulally revealed that the company will regain an investment-grade credit rating sooner than expected. Mulally said that Ford, which had borrowed over $23 billion in 2006 before credit markets froze, is repaying the amount.

Mulally addressed reporters at an event with the Wings Club, an aviation group in New York. Mulally, who had transferred from Boeing Co. in 2006, has made great strides in reviving Ford.

He had improved the quality of the vehicles as well as expanded the namesake brand. In the first half of 2010, Ford posted $4.7 million in earnings, its largest first-half profit since 1998.

Last Tuesday, Ford’s finance arm, Ford Motor Credit Co., sold $1 billion of five-year at interest rates that indicate that its investment-grade rating may be restored, according to Greg Petryszyn, a fixed-income analyst at Minneapolis-based Thrivent Financial.

Just last month, Standard & Poor’s raised Ford’s credit rating two steps to B+, the fourth level below investment grade. It was in 2005 that Ford lost its investment-grade rating. Incidentally, Moody’s Investors Service also has a B1 rating for Ford, the fourth level below investment grade. [via autonews - sub. required]

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