By Laurence Frost
PARIS Ford's 2017 earnings will be hit by a delayed currency impact of at least $600 million from Britain's referendum vote to leave the EU, the U.S. carmaker told Reuters on Friday, putting last year's record European profit levels beyond reach.Currency hedges that had shielded Ford from the pound's slump following the June 23 Brexit referendum are expiring in the first three months of 2017, Ford of Europe boss Jim Farley said in an interview."When Brexit happened we were fully hedged for the first quarter with the stronger pre-Brexit exchange rate," Farley said. "As we enter the rest of the year, especially the second half, we now face the full effects of the weaker sterling."
Ford is Britain's biggest engine maker as well as its top-ranked car brand by sales, with a 12 percent market share.The pound hit a seven-year low against the euro in October and remains almost one-fifth below its value at the end of 2015, when uncertainty over Brexit began to weigh on the currency.
Sterling's slump is the "only major headwind" Ford currently faces in Europe, Farley said. "We think it could be upwards of $600 million this year."
Farley was speaking a day after Ford published 2016 results that included a record $1.2 billion European profit, while reiterating that this year's global earnings would be lower. Its shares ended 3.3 percent lower on Thursday. (Editing by Alexander Smith)
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Updated Date: Jan 27, 2017 22:15:06 IST