Will Tesla Debt Be as Hot as Tesla Stock?

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In a press release Monday morning, Tesla Inc. (NASDAQ: TSLA) announced that it plans to offer $1.5 billion in senior unsecured debt, subject to market conditions. The notes will be due in 2025.

The offer comes just two weeks after the launch of the Model 3, and the timing is no accident. Coverage of the launch was massive and new orders for the Model 3 spiked to 1,800 a day in the following week.

Tesla plans to build a total of 20,000 Model 3 sedans by the end of the year and ramp production to 500,000 a year by the end of 2018. To reach those goals will take substantial — and rapid — investment.

The company reported $3.04 billion in cash and equivalents at the end of the second quarter and $7.12 billion in long-term debt and $2.26 billion in other long-term liabilities. Since December, Tesla has burned through more than $350 million in cash, and the spending on ramping up Model 3 production is just beginning.

The company said it plans to use the net proceeds from the offering to “further strengthen its balance sheet during this period of rapid scaling with the launch of the Model 3, and for general corporate purposes.”

Tesla will offer the new debt only to institutional buyers and will not register the notes with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

The company’s stock has added about 67% for the year to date, after peaking at a year-to-date gain of nearly 80% in mid-June. The Nasdaq Composite is up about 18% over the same time period, while GM stock has added just 1.2% for the year to date and Ford stock has declined nearly 10%.

Tesla’s stock traded up less than 0.1% Monday morning, at $357.20 in a 52-week range of $178.19 to $386.99. The stock’s 12-month price target is $311.41.