Tesla Motors Inc (TSLA): An Opportunistic Capital Raise

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In response to the news that Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) was planning to offer additional shares to the market, Bank of America Corp (NYSE:BAC) released a new report on the company. The BAC report is, as it readily admits, out of consensus, and that’s what really makes it interesting.

Tesla Motors Inc (TSLA): An Opportunistic Capital Raise

In a period when analysts seem to be competing on who can give Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) the highest price target, some pessimism is refreshing, and it could be very educational. The report puts a twelve months price target of $37 on Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) shares, unchanged on the news of the new offering from the company.

The Bank of America report bases its valuation of Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) on a 18.5X multiple of expected 2013 earnings. One thing that the Bank of America Corp (NYSE:BAC) report does that few analysts have managed to do when it comes to Tesla Motors is provide a decent amount of detail on downside risks.

Most recent reports on the electric car manufacturer contained only a couple of risk factors, some of them almost laughably miniscule. A recent Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS) report on the company named just two risk factors, and one of them was the company’s price guarantee three years down the line.

The Bank of America Corp (NYSE:BAC) report, at the very least, reads like due diligence has been done. There are twelve risk factors in the report: 1)Inability to lower costs and increase cashflow, 2) less than expected EV demand growth, 3) setbacks in battery technology, 4) competition, 5) raw material costs, 6) expansion efficiency problems, 7) government policy changes, 8) inability to pay loans, 9) low gas prices, 10) management changes, 11) financial reporting problems, and 12) decline in luxury vehicle demand.

There are serious risks associated with Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA), and many analysts appear to be ignoring them. The momentum is with the company, but the stock is a much riskier bet now than it was three months ago, simply because its price has doubled in a month.

Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) has made an exceptional vehicle in the Model S, but that doesn’t mean there are no risks going forward. Tesla has a long hard climb, and it seems disingenuous to continue upping price targets, while seemingly ignoring risk factors.

There are few people left who want Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) to lose. The firm is a classic story of American innovation. That doesn’t mean that investors should tell themselves a fairy tale.


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