Ford Motor, the second largest US automaker, has announced its decision to raise the dividend payments by 20%, for the third consecutive time in as many years – though the automaker has warned that overall the firm’s profit would see a slowdown in 2014.
Matching an earlier reported Bloomberg forecast, the payout has been raised from the current 12.5 cents a share to 15 cents. The Dearborn, Michigan-based company opted to restart dividend payments back in 2012 at 5 cents after it stopped awarding them for more than half a decade. The stoppage came amid the auto industry’s struggle to survive the global economic crisis of 2008-2009, which led to the bankruptcy restructuring of Ford’s two main local rivals – General Motors and Chrysler (now renamed FCA US, after its current parent – Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV). Ford’s latest dividend increase was a year ago and was of 25% – the updated payment is now due March 2 to shareholders of record at the close of January 30. The 15-cent dividend now entitles the Ford founding family to a lump sum of $42.5 million each year thanks to their exclusively-held 70.9 million Class B shares, which give them control over 405 of the voting rights in the company.
Back in September 2014, Chief Executive Officer Mark Fields warned investors that Ford’s profit for the year could decline to $6 billion, below a previous target of $7 billion to $8 billion. The lower pretax profit earnings come as recall costs soared, overseas losses deepened and the automaker invested massively to introduce the new aluminum-intensive F-150 pickup.