Ford Motor Co. today reported record worldwide sales of $9.2 billion and profits of $483 million ($5.12 a share) for the first quarter of 1977.
That reflected a 33 per cent increase in the company's first quarter net income of $328 million last year and a 24 per cent increase in the $7.4 billion worldwide sales.
During the January-through-March period this year. Ford manufactured 1.6 million cars and trucks compared with 1.4 million in the same three months of 1976.
Ford was the last of the Big Three auto makers to report sales and profits for the quarter during which each of the companies set records.
Earlier, General Motors Corp. reported profits of $903 million on worldwide sales of $1.6 billion, and Chrysler Corp. said its profits were $75.4 million on sales of more than $4 billion.
Chairman Henry Ford II, said the increased profits were primarily due to higher sales, increased sales of optional equipment, and a larger percentage of more profitable vehicles.
Those items added about $215 million to total profits, he said. "This gain was offset substantially by the company's inability to recover through price increases and higher material and labor costs in North America operations," he added.
A Ford spokesman said those increased costs represented more than $140 per U.S vehicle.
When adjusted for inflation, the record 1977 first-quarter profits were 3 per cent down from the previous record quarterly profits of $361 million set in the first quarter of 1973, the spokesman said.
Ford profits from outside the U.S. and Canada were $182 million this year, nearly 40 per cent of the company's net income. Ford of Britain and Ford of Germany contributed substantially all of the increase from the non-North American profits of $144 million earned in the period last year.
The company expects capital spending to continue at present levels, the spokesman said.
Other earnings reports from news dispatches:
Armco Steel Corp. yesterday said it recovered from a "disastrous" January and February to record a first-quarter profit of $6.2 million (15 cents See EARN, C2, Col. 2 EARN, From C1 a share an 81 per cent reduction from the first quarter of 1976. In the same period last year. Armco earned $33.3 million or $1.06 a share. Sales for the first quarter were about even at $788.1 million compared with $748.1 million last year.
Armco chairman William Verity told the annual shareholders meeting in Middletown. Ohio, that if the present level of activity continues for the full year, results should compare well to 1976, when the company earned $123.7 million.
Speaking of steel profits, Verity said there "is not a proper cost-price relationship," and he said Armco is "studying our costs to determine what price increases are necessary."
Verity said President Carter warranted high marks for his forceful presentation of energy problems but added he was in a state of shock" over the administration's suggested solutions.
He singled out endorsement of a proposal on the Continental Shelf "which will add 41 new regulations to the 100 already on the books."
Sperry-Rand Corp. yesterday reported net earnings of $156.83 million ($4.51 a share) for the year ended March 31. By comparison, earnings for the previous year were $145.29 million ($4.19) for the diversified manufacturer of business, aerospace and data processing equipment.
Total revenue was $3.27 billion compared with $3.20 billion the previous year, the company said.
Also announced were fourth-quarter earnings of $47.81 million ($1.38) compared with $41.19 million ($1.19) in the comparison quarter last year. Revenue rose from $8.35 million to $89.6 million.
United Air Lines, Inc., reported a net loss, but Delta Air Lines, Inc., reported a gain in quarterly earnings reports issued yesterday.
United said its net loss for the first quarter was $22.9 million compared with a $43.8 million loss in the quarter a year before. Revenue totaled $720.8 million compared with $614.2 million, the Chicago-based company said.
Edward Carlson, chairman of United, said the quarter's financial results improved despite a lower effective tax rate that reduced tax credits for losses. That had the effect of increasing the net loss, he said.
Delta, which is based in Atlanta, reported net income of $222 million ($1.12 a share) for the third quarter ended March 31 compared with $13 million (65 cents) in earnings for the period last year.
Operating revenue increased 14 per cent to $440.29 million from $385.75 million for the previous year's quarter.
For the first nine months of the fiscal year, Delta said net income was up 40 per cent to $58.57 million ($2.05) from $40.14 million ($2.02) for the same period last year.
Operating revenues for the nine months increased 13 per cent to $1.26 million.
The board of directors declared a cash dividend of 17.5 cents per share payable June 1 to stockholders of record May 10.
Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp. had a profit of $2.57 million (34 cents a share) in the first quarter in contrast with a loss of $1.58 million a year ago. Revenues rose from $83.51 million to $89.63 million.
chairman Dennis C. Stanfill said "Silver Streak," "The Omen" and "Silent Movie" were the big money-producing films.