Tesla Motors Inc Earnings: Analysts Weigh In

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Tesla Motors shares surged today following last night’s earnings report, which wasn’t as bad as some worried it would be and included positive guidance for fourth quarter deliveries. Shares climbed by as much as 10.57% to $230.37 per share during regular trading hours today as analysts started weighing in on last night’s earnings report.

Tesla delivery target better than expected

Tesla posted non-GAAP losses of 58 cents per share, which was worse than the consensus estimate of 50 cents per share in losses, and revenue of $1.24 billion. Revenue was $1.24 billion.

The more important metric was deliveries, however, as the automaker said it expects to deliver between 50,000 and 52,000 vehicles this year, which is at the low end of the previously provided out look of 50,000 o 55,000. Wall Street was pleased with this because most were skeptical that Tesla would even be able to deliver 50,000 units this year.

For the fourth quarter, the automaker expects to deliver between 17,000 and 19,000 vehicles. It delivered 11,603 vehicles during the third quarter.

Despite the strong guide, UBS analyst Colin Langan is skeptical that Tesla can meet it because it implies a sequential increase of 55%. He especially is skeptical of the production ramp for the Model X, as management expects to be producing several hundred of the SUVs per week by next month. He thinks this target is too aggressive because of the production challenges the company has been dealing with on the Model X.

Goldman trims price target

Goldman Sachs analyst Patrick Archambault continues to rate Tesla at Neutral but trimmed their price target from $234 to $230 per share. They want to see a better entry point before they become more constructive on the stock. They said last night’s was “remarkable for the fact that it did not send us back to the drawing board as many expected.”

Although the automaker again cut its guide for shipments, management was a lot more confident on the production ramp for the Model X than they were before. They expect to be able to produce about 200 units of the SUV next month. Management was also positive on demand for the Model S, reporting a 50% year over year increase in global orders with China and mature markets being the main drivers of that increase.

Tesla still faces execution risks

Deutsche Bank analysts noted that there are still some important questions after last night’s report even though they are now more positive that Tesla is on track to reaching positive free cash flow. Profitability in the medium term is a concern, as are cash flow targets, due to the development and ramp of the Model 3 and the construction of the gigafactory.

Rod Lache of Deutsche Bank noted that doing all of these things at the same amount of time represents high levels of cash deployment and, to go along with that, lots of risk for Tesla. The automaker is also innovating in related areas like door closures, windshields, and seats for vehicles, and Lache is concerned about this as well. However, he sees the possibility of “significant value” creation in all of these innovations. Lache has a Hold rating and $280 per share price target on Tesla.

2016 could be strong

Analysts Dan Galves and Shreyas Patil of Credit Suisse see the possibility for next year to be a “very strong” one for Tesla. They are relieved that the automaker has provided more clarity in a number of areas and note that while it burned through about $400 million in cash, which is quite a lot for Tesla, it did not get any worse in the third quarter. They believe the $1.65 billion in liquidity the company had at the end of the third quarter is sufficient enough for the automaker to reach breakeven level in free cash flow, probably by the middle of 2016.

Another key piece of information management revealed on the earnings call was that preorders for the Model X Signature edition are converting to actual orders more quickly than preorders for the Model S did in 2012.

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