This or a similar sentiment could describe in a nutshell the content of the tweets and comments by Elon Musk, the charismatic CEO of Tesla (Nasdaq: TSLA). Reality is a bit of a world apart. In the fourth quarter of 2017, Tesla lost around USD 675 million despite strong growth in revenue to USD 3.3 billion. The average share loss was either USD 4.01 based on GAAP, which I prefer, or USD 3.04 per share based on non-GAAP.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk was as eloquent as ever when he raised the targets for the company’s electric car models: Instead of producing 500,000 electric cars (total figure, all models – i.e., Model S, Model X and Model 3) in 2020, the company should already achieve that number in 2018 and increase it to one million in 2020. One can question whether these targets will become reality, as they require even more large infusions of cash, making additional capital increases inevitable. And this although Tesla has just recently sought more money
The losses of the US-based company increased during the last quarter of 2015 to USD 320 million. Over the entire year, they added up to around USD 980 million. Whether you choose GAAP (the default rulebook) or the visually more enticing non-GAAP accounting standards (with the latter, the result per share seems to improve “cosmetically”) is not the main question. The larger issue is whether the trend points to a balanced result or even a profit. That was now the plan for 2016, as CEO Elon Musk announced.
Many big boys – as the leading US investment banks are called – have given Tesla an unquestionably positive rating. CEO Elon Musk understands how to polarize as well as convince analysts, but at the end of the day only hard facts count. The Credit Suisse analyst specializing in the field already expects a profit of US$ 4.00 per share for fiscal year 2016, since there had allegedly been so many orders for Model X, which would impact earnings.