Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 31 May 2020

Tesla’s blowout earnings send the stock soaring past $600

The company's shares jumped as much as 14 per cent after the close of regular trading on Wednesday

Tesla is aiming to deliver at least 500,000 vehicles this year, a more than 35 per cent jump from 2019. EPA
Tesla is aiming to deliver at least 500,000 vehicles this year, a more than 35 per cent jump from 2019. EPA

Electric vehicle manufacturer Tesla delivered a second straight quarter of blowout earnings and speedy execution, extending an unprecedented surge for its heavily shorted stock.

The record revenue Tesla reported on Wednesday beat estimates and carried the company to its fourth profit in the last six quarters. The company’s chief executive Elon Musk again accelerated the introduction of the new Model Y crossover, saying deliveries will start by March, months earlier than initially planned.

Tesla soared as much as 14 per cent to almost $660 (Dh2,422) after the close of regular trading. The shares, which reclaimed the title of most-shorted American stock earlier this month, had already more than doubled since Mr Musk reported a surprise profit in October and divulged the imminent opening of a new plant in China.

“The short story is eroding,” said Gene Munster, managing partner of the venture capital firm Loup Ventures. He credited Mr Musk for becoming a “quiet assassin” and sees Tesla having a clearer path to profitability.

Musk has turned a corner from years of over-promising and under-delivering, vaulting Tesla past Volkswagen to become the second-most valuable car maker in the world, behind only Toyota Motor.

Investors have rewarded him for building a commanding lead over manufacturers that have been slow to embrace an electric future and abandon the more than century-old internal-combustion engine.

The 48-year-old billionaire has thus far disproved predictions that Tesla will struggle to compete with the impending arrival of EVs from established car makers. The Model 3 was the only EV consumers bought in significant volumes last year in the US, and in Europe it was the third-best seller among all models in December.

The Model Y, which Mr Musk predicts will outsell all other Teslas combined, was initially scheduled to launch this fall. The company has moved up that date in each of its last two quarterly reports.

“The Model Y timing is going to send the bulls falling off their chairs,” said Dan Ives, an analyst at Wedbush Securities who rates Tesla the equivalent of a hold. “This is a game-changing inflection quarter because of the guidance on delivery and profit.”

Free cash flow exceeded $1 billion for the first time, bolstering Mr Musk’s view that Tesla can sustain itself after years of making frequent return trips to Wall Street. He and chief financial officer Zach Kirkhorn said they don’t plan to raise capital and will continue paying down debt over time.

The company projected it will deliver at least 500,000 vehicles this year, a more than 35 per cent jump from 2019.

“What really matters is the outlook,” said Joe Osha, a JMP Securities analyst with the equivalent of a hold rating. “The stock is moving up because the unit outlook for 2020 is higher than consensus.”

Mr Kirkhorn declined to discuss Tesla’s budget for 2020 during an earnings call. The company spent just $1.3bn last year after initially forecasting as much as $2.5bn.

“At the end of it all, there’s a big sentiment shift,” said Ben Kallo, a Baird analyst with the equivalent of a hold rating on Tesla’s stock. “Eighteen months ago, this was a company going out of business, everyone said. Now, it’s a business people want to invest in. Institutional growth investors are starting to look at it as a real company that can make money.”

Updated: January 30, 2020 09:55 AM

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