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Ford to Sell Vehicles in Myanmar

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Ford Motor Co. (F - Free Report) revealed that it has signed a deal with Capital Automotive – a unit of the Capital Diamond Star Group – to distribute cars and pickup trucks in Myanmar. The automaker would open its first showroom in the country’s largest city Yangon in May.

With rapid political and economic reforms, Myanmar has opened gate to many international investors. Recently, PepsiCo Inc. (PEP - Free Report) , Coca-Cola Company (KO - Free Report) , and Caterpillar Inc. (CAT - Free Report) have all signed distribution agreements in Myanmar.

Myanmar eased vehicle import restrictions in late 2011, transforming the roads in its commercial capital Yangon into gridlock. So far, Japanese made vehicles dominate the automotive market in the country.

Ford anticipates global sales to expand by 50% to 8 million vehicles by 2015 given the potential growth in Asia, mainly China and India; and rising demand for small cars. The automaker anticipates small cars to account for 55% of the total sales by 2020 compared with 48% presently. One third of the small car sales are expected to come from Asia.

Ford, a Zacks Rank #4 (Sell) stock, posted a robust 55.0% rise in earnings per share to 31 cents in the fourth quarter of 2012 from 20 cents in the same quarter of 2011 (all excluding special items). With this, the company has beaten the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 26 cents

Ford’s fourth-quarter pre-tax profit of $1.7 billion was the highest in a decade. Meanwhile, net profit surged 55.7% to $1.2 billion from $797 million a year ago. Thanks to the impressive North American results and, to some extent, solid improvements in Asia Pacific Africa operations.

Total revenue grew 5.5% to $36.5 billion on a 7.5% rise in wholesale volumes to 1.5 million units. It was higher than the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $33.2 billion.

For full year 2012, Ford reported an 8.5% decline in profits to $5.6 billion or a 6.6% fall in earnings per share to $1.41 (excluding special items). However, the company’s earnings per share exceeded the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $1.35.

Revenues in the year slid 1.5% to $134.3 billion on a 0.5% fall in wholesale volumes to 5.7 million units. It was higher than the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $125.1 billion.

For full year 2013, Ford expects industry volume (including medium and heavy trucks) of 15.0 million units–16.0 million units in the U.S. compared with 14.8 million units in 2012; 13.0 million units–14.0 million units in the 19 European markets covered by the automaker compared with 14.0 million units in 2012; and 19.5 million–21.5 million units in China compared with 19.0 million units in 2012.

The company expects its 2013 market share in the U.S. to be higher than 2012, Europe to be almost the same as in 2012, and China to be higher than 2012. Its market share in 2012 was 15.2% in the U.S., 7.9% in Europe and 3.2% in China.

During the year, Ford anticipates total company pre-tax operating profit to be the same as in 2012. Ford Credit is expected to report flat pre-tax operating profit compared with 2012.

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