Ford Motor Co management is focused on reducing company debt, increasing the likelihood of an equity or equity-linked raising of capital within six months to a year, a J.P. Morgan analyst said on Friday.
Ford appears intensely focused on addressing a $10.5 billion revolving credit that matures in December 2011 and would not be expected to wait to the last minute, Himanshu Patel said in a note to clients that referenced a visit with Ford management.
We see an equity raise within the next six to 12 months, Patel said in the note.
Ford declined to comment on the report.
Addressing the revolver is a positive for Ford's long-term survival odds, but raises the odds of material equity dilution of about 20 percent sooner rather than later, Patel said.
J.P. Morgan also expects a meaningful second-quarter earnings beat for Ford due to improved pricing in North America and Europe and sequential production improvement in both regions, Patel said.
Credit Suisse also believes Ford could report a significant upside surprise in the second quarter.
J.P. Morgan believes Ford will be able to roll at least part of the revolver into a new secured facility and is focused on overall debt, not a single maturity, raising the odds of an equity or equity-linked raise of capital, Patel said.
Ford seems fully cognizant of its relatively riskier capital structure compared with the new General Motors Co, Patel said. GM emerged from bankruptcy with significantly less debt.
As such, we think Ford has its eyes on delevering, not just terming out maturities, Patel said.
Ford could consider initially raising longer-term debt financing, which with likely better-than-expected second-quarter and third-quarter earnings, could allow shares to rally and permit tapping equity markets to repay debt, Patel said.
Ford could address the revolver through $3 billion of refinanced secured debt, $2 billion of excess Energy Department funds, $2 billion of free cash flow in 2011 and $3.5 billion of capital through an equity or equity-linked raise, Patel said.
Ford shares were unchanged on the day at $6.13.
(Reporting by David Bailey; Editing by Steve Orlofsky)