Higher Expenses of Tesla Motors Inc Make Sense

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Investors just can’t be pleased with Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA), even though the company continues to edge out its own guidance and even some analyst estimates. However, not everyone is bearish on Tesla, as Wedbush analyst Craig Irwin sees a number of positives in the automaker’s latest earnings report.

Tesla’s results ahead of Wedbush’s estimates

In a report dated May 7, 2014, Irwin said Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA)’s results were strong, just as he was expecting. The company posted non-GAAP revenue of $713 million and adjusted earnings of 12 cents per share. Tesla beat his estimates of $684 million in non-GAAP revenue and adjusted earnings of 8 cents per share. Consensus estimates suggested $699 million and earnings of 10 cents per share.

Adjusted gross margins were about what he was expecting. Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) beat its own guidance for deliveries and was in line with Irwin’s estimate, although the 7,500 units was slightly below consensus estimates of 7,827 units.

Irwin notes that Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) is still filling the distribution channel this quarter and that it should produce between 1,000 and 1,500 more Model S sedans than it delivers. He also notes that the automaker is making progress toward its target of a 28% gross margin by the end of this year.

Panasonic to partner with Tesla on gigafactory

One of the concerns bears had raised about Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA)’s gigafactory in the past was that the company’s current battery supplier had not signed on as a partner. That has changed, however, as Panasonic Corporation (ADR) (OTCMKTS:PCRFY) (TYO:6752) has signed a letter of intent to be a partner in the project. Irwin sees this as a positive and also likes the plan to start building on two different sites because it could improve feasibility of the project.

Of course along with that gigafactory is going to come a lot of expenses, and Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) is also expanding its Supercharger network and the number of stores while also continuing to invest in improvements for the Model S and development for the Model X. The automaker is also expanding its production capacity in an attempt to catch up with demand. Tesla guided for a 30% quarter over quarter increase in research and development for the second quarter and a 15% increase in selling, general and administrative expenses for the quarter.

Irwin sees all of these higher expenses as “understandable” and maintains his $275 per share price target and Outperform rating on Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA).

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