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Ford to pay union healthcare via shares

FORD Motor Co said on Monday that it would sell 300 million common shares and use part of the proceeds to pay off its healthcare obligations to the United Auto Workers under the terms of a recently concluded deal with the union.

Ford also said it expects to grant to the underwriters - Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan and Morgan Stanley - a 30-day option to buy up to 45 million shares of common stock.

Ford is the only United States auto maker that has not sought government aid.

Ford's stock offering comes on the heels of a successful debt exchange. Ford shares have had a four-fold rise in price since hitting a low of US$1.50 on February 20.

Ford said net proceeds from the stock offering would also be used for general corporate purposes.

"Today's (Monday) equity offering is another example of the fast, decisive action we are taking as we build momentum on our plan, including further progress on improving our balance sheet," Ford Chief Executive Alan Mulally said in a statement.


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