Ford Thinking About a Tune Up, May Offer Dividend

Shares of Ford (NYSE:F) have declined 40% year-to-date, however, the automaker is looking at other ways to return value to shareholders.  On Wednesday, Controller Bob Shanks said, “As our balance sheet continues to improve, we expect to resume paying a dividend.  We expect this to occur in the relatively near future.”

Unlike General Motors (NYSE:GM), Ford did not accept a bailout from the US Government.  Ford trimmed costs and suspended its dividend in September 2006.  The announcement by Bob Shanks is surprising considering it was just two weeks ago that CFO Lewis Booth explained that a dividend reinstatement was off the table until the company returns to an investment-grade credit rating.  Currently, S&P (NYSE:MHP) rates Ford debt at BB-, which is three levels below investment grade.  Competitors Tata Motors (NYSE:TTM), Honda (NYSE:HMC), and Toyota (NYSE:TM) all currently payout a dividend.

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