Ford doubles dividend to seven year high on good balance sheet

US CAR maker Ford yesterday doubled its quarterly dividend to 10 cents per share, a seven-year high, due to strong sales in North America and its “strong balance sheet”.

The increase follows years of struggling during the economic crisis, when Ford suspended its dividends for five years up until December 2011.

“We had thought that a dividend increase was likely but this announcement is larger than we expected,” RBC Capital Markets analyst Joseph Spak said.

Ford said it had increased its liquidity during the first three quarters of last year by $2bn (£1.2bn), having told the market earlier this month that it sold more than 2m cars in the US last year and had its strongest December sales since 2006.

However, Ford has acknowledged it has lost market share, and the company is expected to lose $3bn from its European business over the next two years.