Jeremy Hobson: When you’re a big American company and you want to grow, you need a decent credit rating. An investment-grade rating — as its called on Wall Street — will give creditors more confidence that if they lend you money, you’ll eventually pay them back. Well Ford just got its junk rating upgraded to investment grade by the rating agency Moody’s just a month after Fitch did the same thing.
Marketplace’s Scott Tong reports on what this means for Ford.
Scott Tong: As Moody’s sees it, Ford is financially disciplined, and it sells lots of cars in North America. Six years ago, the automaker lost billions when SUV sales hit the brakes. It borrowed $23 billion to restructure, and as collateral put up its factories and its famous trademark — the royal blue oval with Ford written in cursive. Since then it’s shed brands and workers, cut a stingier deal with labor, and once again can reclaim the rights to the blue oval.
Jody Lurie at Janney Montgomery Scott figures Ford will takes it fancy new credit rating, and drive to the bank.
Jody Lurie: One thing we’ll expect from management is they will definitely take this as an opportunity to refinance their debt, as well as repay a lot of the debt that’s outstanding.
And, Ford should attract new investors.
Lurie: If you have your mom and pops and they want more of a sure thing to put their money, they’ll see Ford as that option.
GM and Chrysler? Still in the junk bond heap. Ford does have more work to do. It’s highly exposed to a weak European market. And it needs to turn east and pick up more Asian drivers anxious to buy.
I’m Scott Tong for Marketplace.
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