Tesla Motors Earnings Preview 2Q 2012: Few Cars in Quarter Mean Lower EPS

   on July 23 2012 4:08 PM

Tesla Motors Inc. (Nasdaq: TSLA) is expected to report second-quarter 2012 earnings sharply lower than the previous year as the company waits for revenue from the recently launched Model S and from a new partnership with Mercedes-Benz to have a positive impact later in the year.

The Palo Alto, Calif.-based electric car company is expected to post a loss per share of 93 cents, a 174 percent drop from last year's second-quarter EPS loss of 53 cents, according to consensus estimates by Thomson-Reuters analysts. Likewise, revenue is expected to have plunged 47 percent to $30.65 million in the second quarter when the company was completing its final push before releasing the new Tesla Model S sedan.

Tesla stopped taking orders for its flagship Tesla Roadster electric sports car in the U.S. in 2011, and its contract for vehicle gliders with Lotus ran out at the end of the 2011, leaving the company with few vehicles for sale or in production during the duration of the second quarter.

Tesla built just 90 Roadsters and 300 powertrains during the second quarter, according to Morgan Stanley. Production for the company is expected to ramp up substantially following release of the Model S in June at the beginning of the third quarter. The company is also working to bring a crossover, the Model X, to market at the end of 2013.

Because Tesla was not actively selling cars during the second quarter, revenue from sales was essentially non-existent. Morgan Stanley research published on July 16 predicted that the company burned through $132 million in the second quarter. Money drawn from a U.S. Department of Energy loan could push the total cash drain up to $235 million for the quarter. R&D expenditures for the company sky-rocketed 56.2 percent to $82 million. Selling, general and administrative expenses are predicted to rise 37.6 percent to $34 million.

I am amazed at how fast our robots can position major sections of the car and how quickly our massive presses can transform huge rolls of aluminum into doors, hoods and battery enclosures, Tesla Motors vice president worldwide sales and ownership experience wrote in May.

Tesla also announced it was opening four new U.S. stores, the first of which in Westchester, New York, opened in May with four Model S beta cars. The company built 20 Model S vehicles during the second quarter, according to Morgan Stanley. Tesla said in May that it was ahead of schedule in releasing the Model S.

Shares fell $1.13, or 3.55 percent, to $30.66 on Monday.

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