Ford Motor to raise $2.8 billion debt to fund new technology

DETROIT (Reuters) - Ford Motor Co F.N will raise $2.8 billion in long-term debt, according to a filing with U.S. securities regulators, funds which a senior executive said on Monday will help fund investments in new technology including self-driving cars.

A Ford logo is seen on the grill of a 2015 F-150 truck outside the New York Stock Exchange in the Manhattan borough of New York, January 13, 2014. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

Joe Hinrichs, Ford president of the Americas region, said the funds would largely go for investment in new technology including electric vehicles, self-driving vehicles, and mobility efforts such as ride-sharing and ride-hailing.

“It’s an opportunistic time,” Hinrichs told Reuters in an interview on Monday morning. “It’s a supportive marketplace for long-term debt given where rates are, and we want to make sure that throughout the cycle of the industry we have the flexibility to do what we need to do and want to do, especially in the emerging part of the business.”

In a late Monday afternoon filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Ford said it will raise $1.5 billion in 10-year notes with a yield to maturity of 4.356 percent and $1.3 billion of 30-year notes at 5.291 percent. (here)

Hinrichs, who has led Ford’s Americas region for four years, said Ford has the manufacturing flexibility to make more of its Ford Expedition and Lincoln Navigator large SUVs as the two models undergo their first total makeover in 14 years.

Hinrichs did not say how many of the new models it hopes to sell. “Suffice to say it is a big opportunity for us,” Hinrichs said of the new versions of the large SUVs.

General Motors Co GM.N has dominated the large SUV part of the U.S. auto business in recent years, although Ford invented the segment about two decades ago.

This year, through November, GM’s four large SUVs have outsold Ford’s two entries more than 3-to-1. But Ford’s big SUV sales are up 33 percent this year, to GM’s rise of 18 percent.

It is too early, Hinrichs said, to determine the impact of any changes that may come to the North American Free Trade Agreement, which President-elect Donald Trump has said he will renegotiate.

Last week, as the U.S. unemployment rate showed a nine-year low, economists said the path is clear for an interest rate hike this month by the Federal Reserve.

Reporting by Bernie Woodall and Joseph White; Editing by W Simon, Diane Craft and James Dalgleish