October was a busy month for Tesla as the company beat earnings estimates, revealed new products and offered more details on the upcoming Model 3. Analysts are now debating whether the automaker can achieve profitability again in the fourth quarter as it did in the third—to nearly everyone’s surprise. They’re also picking apart the new products to see if they’re anything more than hype.
Tesla may give Solaredge less business
Tesla said last week that it has started shipping version two of its Powerpack energy storage system, which includes a new inverter it built itself. Goldman Sachs analyst Brian Lee warning that this could be bad news for Solaredge Technologies, which has been supplying the inverters. He has a Sell rating and $13 price target on Solaredge shares.
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Tesla’s Powerpack energy storage system is designed for commercial or industrial and utility-scale applications, and version two includes the company’s own inverter. Solaredge has been supplying the inverters for the Powerpack and Powerwall since Tesla revealed the energy storage products in April 2015. However, Lee believes that the announcement about the automaker’s in-house inverter for the Powerpack implies a greater likelihood that Tesla is also designing an inverter for the Powerwall in-house.
There have been speculations that the company was designing an in-house inverter for quite some time, although Lee said in his Oct. 28 report that the timing was sooner than had been expected. In fact, commentary from Solaredge management implied that it would be years before Tesla would be making its own inverters in-house.
The analyst warns that Solaredge stands to lose 10% to 15% of its sales following the automaker’s merger with SolarCity. He said Tesla is Solaredge’s biggest customer in energy storage, and its combination with SolarCity obviously will impact their relationship.
Shares of Solaredge Technologies surged by 3.05% to close at $13.70 on Monday.
Will Tesla still be profitable in Q4?
Last week Tesla delivered a substantial beat on non-GAAP earnings, although bears were quick to point out that much of the beat was due to sales of zero emission vehicle credits. Lower operating expenditures also contributed a huge share of the earnings beat.
Dougherty & Company analyst Charles Anderson weighed in after last week’s earnings report, maintaining his $500 price target and Buy rating. Bears are highly skeptical that Tesla will be able to be profitable in the fourth quarter, as the company says it may be. CEO Elon Musk said on the earnings call that he believes the automaker will be profitable even without sales of zero emission vehicle credits.
However, Anderson’s calculations still suggest a loss for the fourth quarter (and this coming from a big-time Tesla bull). He used the company’s formal guidance of about 25,000 vehicle deliveries, a 30% year over year increase in operating expenditures for fiscal 2016, and a fourth quarter automotive gross margin of 25.6% to 26.6%, with between 30% and 35% of the vehicles being accounted for as leases.
Anderson believes that the outlook for operating expenditures is “a tad aggressive” because hiring is always difficult during the fourth quarter. He also sees room for upside to the automotive gross margin based on management commentary about a greater mix of the more expensive 100kWh models coming in the fourth quarter.
He was quite pleased with Tesla’s earnings report and conference call. He said it sounds like the Model 3 is running on schedule and noted that the company’s margins are improving and the production problems with the Model X appear to be in the past. Further, he said management commentary suggested that demand for the 100kWh models is better than expected.
Shares of Tesla slumped by 1.12% to close at $197.73 on Monday.