Ford posts $14.4B profit in 4Q, Misses Estimates image

Ford Motor Co., the Dearborn, Mich., carmaker, reported a lower-than-expected fourth-quarter profit on Friday due to higher commodity costs and losses in its automotive operations in Europe and Asia.

Ford earned $13.62 billion in the fourth quarter, or $3.40 per share, largely due to a decision to move deferred tax assets back onto its books. Excluding one- time costs, the profit was 20 cents a share, trailing the 25- cent average estimate of 15 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg.

Automotive pretax operating profit fell to $586 million from $741 million a year earlier due to higher costs of commodities and compensation plus unfavorable currency translations, partly offset by better pricing, volume and product mix, Ford said in a Friday statement.

“Our results in 2011 were strong and, as planned, we provided substantial distributions to Ford,” Ford Credit Chairman and CEO Mike Bannister said.

“We remain committed to Ford’s growth plans through support of the company, our dealers and customers.”

The automaker lost $190 million in Europe for the quarter and $83 million in Asia Pacific while also reporting higher than anticipated commodity costs that amounted to $2.3 billion for the full year instead of $2.2 billion.

For the full year, the Dearborn-based company earned $20.2 billion, or $4.94 per share.