Fiat says it sits on a 22.7 billion euro cash pile. CONSOB, the Italian equivalent of the SEC, told Fiat to explain “size and purpose” of its cash position, says Il Messagero in Rome. Fiat says it is not aware of an alleged probe, and that any suggestion that its cash pile was lower than reported in its statements was false, and will be dealt with. (Read More…)
Due to the animated discussion of distribution models and dealer profits, I’ll resurrect The Autobiography Of BS© - just for this one time. As all the other stories, the story is true. Even the name wasn’t changed. Harry is still alive and well. I just did make sure.
It was a Friday. At the tender age of 23, I served as the editor-in-chief of a small German weekly, and I hated hectic Fridays when we had to put the new issue to bed.
My friend Harry was on the phone.
“I need your help. Urgent financial matters.” (Read More…)
After ending the first quarter of this year with $35.7b in cash and equivalents, GM was in the best position it’s enjoyed in decades. And yet, with an IPO prospectus looming, The General is seeking a $5b line of credit and trotting out EBITDAPRO as its in-house measure of financial success. Both of these tactics are hallmarks of companies that are doing poorly, and GM has already learned how problematic loading up on debt and sliced-and-diced financials can be. So why is The General inviting criticism from outlets like Edmunds Autoobserver, which characterizes GM’s push towards an IPO as the rebirth of old bad habits? The simple answer: “business execution.” In other words, GM may have a lot of cash, but it’s got nearly as many demands on its resources as well… and these cash drains hardly add up to a coherent strategy.
Ford has wrapped up some much-needed financial wrangling today, as it struggles with with its monstrous pile of debt. According to Automotive News [sub], Ford transferred $13.2b in debt and about $4b in cash to the UAW-run health care trust fund, completing a long-awaited liability consolidation. $1.4b of the transfer was a scheduled payment on a $6.7b note, while $500m more was a prepayment on that note. Ford paid $610m (cash) on another $6.5 billion note, transferred $620m from a temporary account and $3.5b from an internal VEBA fund and handed over warrants to purchase 362 million shares of Ford common stock at $9.20 per share. All together, the move reportedly adds $7b in debt to Ford’s balance sheet.
GM was given its last $30B of taxpayer money as it entered bankruptcy in early June of this year. By the time GM exited Chapter 11 protection on July 10, there was only $16.4B left in its bailout escrow account. According to an 8-K form filed today with the SEC, GM now has only $13.6B remaining in that account, less than one-third of GM’s $50B total bailout (not counting assistance to GMAC). GM’s rescue of its major supplier, Delphi, consumed $2.8 billion from its escrow account. According to the form:
Approximately $1.7 billion was utilized to acquire a membership interest in the new Delphi entity and approximately $1.1 billion was expended in the acquisition of Delphi’s global steering business, certain domestic facilities and other related payments
Automotive News [sub] brings glad tidings for auto execs drunk on Clunkers: “September’s light-vehicle sales rate will fall to 8.8 million units, consumer auto site Edmunds.com said. That would be the lowest rate in nearly 28 years, tying the worst demand on record.” Well, I did predict an 8m seasonally-adjusted annual sales (SAAR) rate. But did they listen? Noooooo. “They” had to spend $3 billion of taxpayers’ money on a cash infusion that did nothing—zip—to improve the industry’s long term well being. Or even longer. In fact, what’s the bet that the news (which hits for real on October 1) will trigger MORE federal spending on the ailing American automakers? You ain’t seen nothing yet. “Many people regard February as the darkest month of the recession, but even then the SAAR was higher, at 9.1 million units,” Edmunds.com senior statistician Zhenwei Zhou said in a statement. Expect to hear more apocalyptic pronouncements at an MSM outlet near you soon.