Tesla shares rise as company says production grew

AP News
Posted: Nov 05, 2012 10:32 AM
Tesla shares rise as company says production grew

DETROIT (AP) — Shares of Tesla Motors Inc. rose more than 3 percent Monday as the electric vehicle maker said it was now making enough cars to generate positive operating cash flow.

But the Palo Alto, Calif., company's third-quarter net loss grew almost 70 percent, to $110.8 million, or $1.05 per share, compared with a loss of $65.1 million, or 63 cents per share, a year earlier. Revenue was $50.1 million, down 13 percent from a year earlier. Excluding one-time items such as $12.5 million in stock-based compensation, the company lost 92 cents per share. Analysts polled by FactSet expected a loss of 89 cents per share on $55.7 million in revenue.

The company said it transitioned to a mass-production car company during the quarter, growing from making five cars per week to 100 cars per week. In the current quarter, it is building more than 200 Model S sedans per week, or 10,000 cars per year, and it expects to double production again in one month to 400 cars per week. The company said it delivered 253 of the Model S in the third quarter and 68 Roadsters, and it increased sales of powertrains to Toyota to run the electric RAV4 small SUV.

"We are now at a production rate capable of generating positive operating cash flow," the company said in a statement.

Production of the Model S was hampered during the quarter by parts supply issues, which the company said Monday had been resolved.

Tesla, the brainchild of PayPal billionaire and SpaceX founder Elon Musk, now has two all-electric models on the market, the $109,000 Roadster and the new Model S, which starts at $49,900 after a federal tax credit. The Roadster is being phased out as the Model S goes on sale. Tesla has lost money since sales of the Roadster began in 2008, and the company is banking on the cheaper Model S to expand its market.

Tesla said it finished drawing on a $465 million loan from the U.S. Department of Energy during the quarter. The company has made two $15 million loan payments before they were due, spokeswoman Christina Ra said. The payments are due in December and March.

The company also said it finished the quarter with $109 million in cash. This includes short-term restricted cash to make the first loan payment due in December, the company said. It also said it raised $222 million in an equity offering just after the quarter ended.

Research and Development costs rose to $61.9 million last quarter, up 14.5 percent from a year ago. The company maintained its 2012 revenue guidance of $400 million to $440 million and said it expects to deliver 2,500 to 3,000 Model S cars to customers in the fourth quarter and 20,000 next year. Analysts expect full-year revenue of $408.8 million. Tesla expects to get to positive free cash flow by the end of the fourth quarter.

Shares of Tesla rose 91 cents, or 3.2 percent, to $29.83 in Monday morning trading. They have traded in a range of $22.64 to $39.95 in the past year.