Tesla Motors Inc (TSLA) Defies Odds, But Financial Engineering A Concern

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Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) has done what many thought were impossible. It created a vehicle with a range of more than 200 miles and then pushed into profits earlier than expected. The company’s fundamentals don’t make sense to anyone, although some analysts note that its stock is behaving like those of the 1990s-era tech companies rather than auto companies.

Tesla Motors Inc (TSLA) Defies Odds, But Financial Engineering A Concern

Shares of Tesla soared to a new high on Friday as expectations for the company rise higher and higher. Even CEO Elon Musk thinks investors are being a bit too generous with his company’s stock. So how did Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) get to where it is now? The Washington Post’s Steven Mufson took a close look at all the “financial engineering” which has gone into the company as it has driven into the last two positive quarters.

Tesla relies on big names

For example, the automaker has relied heavily on financial firms with big names, like Goldman Sachs, which has a .34 stake in the company. Goldman also served as underwriters for Tesla’s stock offerings and has offered personal loans to Musk so that he could buy more Tesla shares. At this point Musk himself owns 23.3 percent of Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA), which is worth approximately $5 billion at this point and shows just how much he believes in the company and its cars.

Morgan Stanly, another big player in the market, holds a 4 percent stake in the automaker. Toyota holds a 2.4 percent stake and was one of Tesla’s earliest investors. Daimler-Benz was also an early investor and now holds a 4 percent stake in the company.

All of the investments made by these big names have provided Tesla with room and time to grow, unlike some other startups which aren’t so lucky to have backing from big names.

Tesla coverage has been positive

Meanwhile the media and analysts have been giving Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) plenty of public exposure, with some good and some not so good. Dougherty & Co. analyst Andrea James has been one of the most outspoken bulls on the company, and she set a $200 price tag on the automaker long before it hit the current level just shy of $185 a share. Suddenly she’s not looking as crazy as bears thought months ago.

Right now there’s just no doubt that bulls are valuing Tesla as a tech company rather than an automotive company, largely because of the technology it has. Tesla’s tech could be the future of automotive tech, and investors are banking on it.

Concerns about Tesla

Nonetheless, as investors become more and more bullish on Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA), concerns arise that they won’t be happy with the company simply hitting its projections. They might want more, and the company has a lot on the line here. Commitments made by Musk this year could turn into problems if they don’t hold true. For example, he promised that Tesla’s vehicles would have a 50 percent resale value over their first three years of life. This is a little higher than the average resale value of other luxury automakers like BMW and Mercedes.

In addition, the two loans Musk received from Goldman Sachs were received based on using his stock as collateral. This means if the stock falls below the price he purchased the shares at, he might be forced to either put up the cash to back them or sell his shares. If he’s forced to sell his shares, then Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA)’s share price will likely drop even more rapidly.

But we can’t ignore the fact that the company has already achieved the impossible, so in spite of all the odds, Tesla still has excellent chances to become the first automaker to bridge the gap between technology and automotive.

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