Analysts at Goldman Sachs remain bearish on Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA), even as investors continue pushing the company’s stock higher in the wake of its latest earnings report. Analysts Patrick Archambault and Aditya Oberoi issued a report to investors today explaining three different models—all of which indicate that Tesla shares are far overvalued.
The last time Goldman analysts issued a report like this, shares of Tesla started tanking, but not so far today. The stock has risen another 14 percent since the markets opened.
Goldman convinced about Tesla’s margin goal
The analysts note that the EV automaker did significantly improve its margins during the second quarter, but they’re still worried about demand for the company’s vehicles. Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA)’s adjusted gross margin during the quarter was 13 percent, not counting regulatory credits. That’s a significant rise from 4 percent in the first quarter.
The automaker benefited from higher production volumes, reductions in component costs and greater labor efficiencies. Overhead and freight costs were also partially offset by a weaker product mix as the company filled orders for those who ordered its lowest range vehicle, which is now discontinued.
The analysts believe that Tesla is well positioned to hit its goal of a 25 percent margin not counting regulatory credits by the end of the year. They said the company should receive tailwinds from a richer mix of vehicles, continual improvements in production efficiency and better leverage from volumes by the fourth quarter.
Demand for Tesla vehicles not clear
The one problem they still see for Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) is demand, which they say remains less clear. They note that much of the automaker’s valuation is based on the Generation III vehicle, which is years away from being on the market. However, they call the Model S “the litmus test” for the markets over the next few years.
The Goldman Sachs analysts say the fact that Tesla’s target sales run-rate of 40,000 units for late next year assumes 20,000 vehicles sold in North America, which is basically unchanged from the North American run-rate today. They say this is a weaker signal than what they want to see, even if management is being conservative.
Goldman raises PT for Tesla but still see it as expensive
The analysts did increase their 6-month price target to $95 from $84 per share for Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA), although they remain Neutral on the stock. They set their price target on the average of their three possible scenarios.
The most bullish scenario calls for a $67 per share price target based on total sales of 106,000 units (including both the Model S and the Gen III) and 15.4 percent operating margins. This would imply earnings per share of $6.91. They layered on a 20x multiple because of the company’s growth prospects, giving it a $138 value, which they discounted 20 percent to get their $67 per share price target.
The mid-case scenario assumes volumes of 150,000 vehicles and 15.5 percent operating margins and results in a $93 per share price target. Goldman’s bullish case is for Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) to sell 200,000 units with an operating margin of 15.6 percent. Their price target for this scenario is $125 per share.