Tesla earnings under pressure from Shanghai factory halt

US Materials 19 April 2022 16:16 (UTC +04:00)
Tesla earnings under pressure from Shanghai factory halt

Tesla investors on Wednesday will be keeping an eye on whether the electric car company maintains its ambitious 2022 delivery target as the biggest factory, Shanghai, grapples with a COVID-19 shutdown and new plants slowly ramp up output, Trend reports with reference to Reuters.

Tesla reports quarterly results and analysts are also asking whether CEO Elon Musk will discuss his $43 billion proposal to buy Twitter and if he will use some of his Tesla shares to help fund the deal.

The COVID-19 related suspension of Tesla's Shanghai factory, combined with the costs of ramping up new factories in Berlin and Texas, are likely to have weighed on its first-quarter earnings, analysts said.

Musk said in January that Tesla's volume growth would comfortably exceed 50% from last year, meaning that Tesla expects to deliver more than 1.4 million vehicles this year.

Tesla navigated the global supply chain crisis better than other rivals, posting record deliveries and earnings for several quarters. But its factory in Shanghai was suspended for more than three weeks, after the city rolled out lockdown measures to combat a surge in COVID-19 cases.

Tesla plans to gradually resume production this week in Shanghai.

"I'll be looking for more long-term commentary for management. How quickly do they expect them to get up to normal run rates? Are there any issues they've had in production? When do they expect its Shanghai factory to resume full production?" Morningstar Analyst Seth Goldstein, said.

"You have a lot of fixed costs to get the new plants up and running, but not a lot of production to spread the costs around," he said.

The Austin, Texas-based company is expected to report $17.80 billion revenue for the January to March quarter, up over 70% from a year earlier, but largely unchanged from the previous quarter, according to Refinitiv data.

​Refinitiv's mean analyst estimate for Tesla is for earnings of $2.26 per share. This is up from 93 cents per share a year earlier, but on a quarter on quarter basis, marks the first quarterly fall in two years.

Musk delivered Tesla's first Texas-made Model Y vehicles at a glitzy event early this month, but no Texas vehicles are listed on Tesla's order website yet.

"It'll probably be a while before the Texas factory can get up to full speed," Guidehouse Insights analyst Sam Abuelsamid said, citing challenges of launching volume production of 4680 cells likely to be used in the Texas vehicles.

Analysts and investors also are asking how Musk's pursuit of Twitter will affect his running of Tesla. Musk, CEO of SpaceX, previously said he is splitting his time between Tesla and the rocket company.

"Running Twitter would be a possible distraction for a CEO that already has a full plate," Wells Fargo said in a report.

Even if he brings in private equity partners to his Twitter bid, he is going to be a substantial shareholder in the social media company, meaning that he would likely have to have to sell some Tesla stocks to finance the deal, Goldstein said.

Musk said last week that he was not sure whether he would be able to acquire Twitter, and said he has a Plan B if Twitter rejected his offer.