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Ford to Offer $2 Billion in Bonds; May Refinance High-Interest Debt From 2020

By John Rosevear - Mar 16, 2021 at 9:34AM

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The automaker sold $8 billion in junk bonds in the early days of the pandemic. It's now thinking about refinancing.

Ford Motor Company (F 3.38%), which sold high-interest junk bonds in the early days of the pandemic in a rush to raise cash, said that it will now offer $2 billion in new bonds in what may be a bid to refinance some of that high-interest debt.

Ford said on Tuesday that it will offer $2 million in new bonds via a private placement to institutional investors. The bonds are unsecured, meaning that Ford will not post collateral, and convertible, meaning that they can be converted into Ford common stock at a price that will be determined before they're issued.

The front of Ford's headquarters building, with a large Ford logo sign near the roof.

Ford's world headquarters in Dearborn, Michigan. Image source: Ford Motor Company.

Ford said that it will use the proceeds of the offering "for general corporate purposes, including the potential repayment of debt." The interest rates that Ford will pay on the bonds, and the price at which they can be converted into stock, haven't yet been determined. 

In April of last year, with most of its factories idled amid the pandemic and the future uncertain, Ford issued three series of high-yield bonds to raise a total of $8 billion. At the time, that was seen as an expensive but necessary move to ensure that the company had sufficient capital to weather an extended shutdown of its factories.

Now, after ending 2020 with $30.8 billion in cash on hand versus $24 billion of debt, Ford may be testing the waters with this bond offering. If it is able to sell these bonds with interest payments significantly lower than those on last year's junk bonds, it may do a larger offering to retire more of last year's high-interest debt. 

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