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Ford Motor Co. Chief Operating Officer Mark Fields delivers his keynote address Wednesday.

Ford drops; 2 area banks up

Associated Press photos
Ford Motor Co. CEO and President Bill Ford stands beside a 2015 Ford Mustang 50 Year Limited Edition.

Results were mixed during the first quarter for several companies doing business in northeast Indiana.

Although each of the four companies reported a profit – as opposed to a loss – for the three months ended March 31, two of the four saw lower profits than they earned for the same three months of 2013.

Ford Motor Co.

Ford Motor Co.’s earnings report could test investors’ willingness to hang in during a year of lower profits on the promise of better returns ahead.

Ford said Friday its first-quarter net income fell 39 percent to $989 million, or 24 cents a share. That’s down from $1.64 billion, or 41 cents a share, in the January-March period a year ago.

Ford, in Dearborn, Mich., warned that this year would be leaner than 2013, when it enjoyed a near-record pretax profit of $8.65 billion. It’s a transition year for the company, which is launching a record 23 vehicles worldwide and building seven plants, including four in China.

That means a lot of upfront costs that won’t immediately pay off. For example, Ford is halting production at its U.S. truck plants for 13 weeks this year to prepare for the launch of the new aluminum-clad F-150. It won’t see substantial sales of the truck until next year.

The results also held some surprises for investors, including a $400 million contribution to Ford’s warranty reserves and $100 million in higher shipping costs and other weather-related charges from the brutal winter.

Excluding a charge for plant closings in Europe, Ford earned 25 cents a share. That was far short of Wall Street’s expectations.

Revenue rose slightly to $35.9 billion. Worldwide sales were up 6 percent to nearly 1.6 million.

Lake City Bank

Lakeland Financial Corp. on Friday reported first-quarter earnings of $9.91 million, or 59 cents a diluted common share, a 7 percent increase from the $9.25 million, or 56 cents a share, posted for the previous year’s first quarter.

The Warsaw parent of Lake City Bank said results for the quarter would have been higher but the company had to set aside $431,000 to cover state income taxes after Lakeland officials re-evaluated the company’s state deferred tax items.

Because Indiana lowered its tax rate for financial institutions, the company’s tax-deferred holdings won’t be as beneficial to Lakeland as they previously were.

David Findlay, president and CEO, said in a statement that officials are encouraged by the strengthening economy.

1st Source Bank

1st Source Corp. on Thursday reported first-quarter earnings of $13.6 million, or 55 cents a diluted common share, a 10 percent increase over the $12.4 million, or 50 cents a share, posted for the previous year’s first quarter.

The South Bend parent of 1st Source Bank was remodeling three Fort Wayne branches during the quarter just ended.

Christopher Murphy III, chairman, said in a statement that the company’s income from loans and fees both increased while total expenses decreased despite the unusually harsh winter. 1st Source, like many other companies, paid more for snow plowing and heat during the quarter.

Dana Holding

Dana Holding Corp. on Friday reported first-quarter earnings of $34 million, or 19 cents a diluted common share, a 19 percent decline from the $42 million, or 19 cents a share, posted for the same three months of 2013.

The Maumee, Ohio, auto parts supplier also reported flat first-quarter sales of $1.69 billion.

As of March 31, Dana changed the process it uses to determine the exchange rate for measuring financial performance of its Venezuela operations. Venezuelan currency must be translated into U.S. dollars for the company’s financial statements.

Dana officials blamed the earnings decline on increased restructuring charges, mostly in South America, Venezuelan currency fluctuations, higher interest rates and higher taxes.