Ford Expects To Spend $11 Billion On Restructuring Plans

Over half that amount is slated for programs for laid-off workers, Ford tells federal regulators in its Securities and Exchange Commission filing.

WASHINGTON (AP) – Ford Motor Co. told federal regulators Wednesday that its restructuring plan would likely cost $11.18 billion, with more than half of the expenses devoted to programs for laid-off workers.

In a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, the No. 2 U.S. automaker estimated spending $5.96 billion on a jobs bank and other ''personnel-reduction programs,'' $2.74 billion to scale back its pensions, $2.2 billion for fixed asset impairment charges and $281 million to idle plants.

Ford said in the filing that it had already accrued $9.9 billion in 2006 and the balance, mostly related to salaried personnel-reduction programs, would be accrued during the first three months of 2007.

The company also disclosed that it has pledged all its buildings, trademarks, intellectual property, shares in the main company and shares in Volvo, Jaguar, Aston Martin, Ford Motor Credit Co. and other operations as collateral for a $23.4 billion line of credit to fund its restructuring plan and cover losses expected until 2009.

In a separate move, the company said it had changed its performance bonus plan for senior executives to better reflect its team approach under chief executive Alan Mulally.

The automaker's board of directors agreed Tuesday to give executives cash payouts to settle the current program established in 2005, when managers working on the restructuring plan set up criteria by which executives would be measured in 2006 in order to receive bonuses.

''The program was viewed as inconsistent with Ford's strategic need to have our executives work together to achieve common goals as a team,'' the company said.

Under the new program, the company said its compensation committee would provide bonuses for executives of eight times their base salary. The individual amounts, which were not disclosed by the company, would be reduced by their cash payout from the settlement.

Ford said the value of the bonuses will be paid in an equal share of stock options and performance-based restricted stock units.

Ford's change in bonuses comes as the struggling automaker moves into contract talks later this year with the United Auto Workers union, which is expected to receive requests from Ford for concessions.

Ford reported a record loss of $12.7 billion for 2006. The automaker is working through a major restructuring plan to reduce its manufacturing capacity to better match lower demand for its vehicles.

Ford spokeswoman Becky Sanch said the cash payouts under the settlement were ''based on actual and expected achievements of select goals.'' Total payments and the amounts paid to executives would be disclosed in a proxy statement filed later this spring, she said.

The committee decided to give stock options next month and annual ''performance-based restricted stock units'' through March 2009 to some officers under the company's long-term incentive program.

Detailing litigation involving the company, Ford said it was the subject of a purported class action lawsuit in Michigan alleging violations related to the Employee Retirement Income Security Act.

The lawsuit contends Ford failed ''to prudently and loyally manage funds held in employee savings plans'' by letting employees buy Ford stock in the plans. Ford denied any wrongdoing and said it would ''defend this matter vigorously.''

Ford's board also specified separate policies for the use of corporate jets by Mulally and President of the Americas Mark Fields. The board's compensation committee agreed Tuesday to let Mulally's wife, children and guests travel at company expense on the aircraft without Mulally.

Ford had previously said Mulally would be required to use company aircraft for personal travel ''for security reasons'' and could have his wife, children and guests join him at company expense.

Fields, however, will no longer use company aircraft for personal travel, according to an arrangement between the executive and the company reached on Feb. 7. Ford will pay the costs, including first-class commercial airfare, for personal travel by Fields to and from his home in Florida.

Fields has been criticized for using company jets for weekend travel to his home in south Florida.

Ford also said that under the terms of its credit line, it cannot let its liquidity drop below $4 billion. If it sells a stake in any of its operations, it must reinvest the proceeds in the company, according to the filing.

As of December, the company had borrowed $12 billion of the credit line, the latest figure available.

Associated Press Writer Tom Krisher contributed to this report.

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