Why This Tesla Earnings Report Is So Incredible

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Tesla Motors Inc. (NASDAQ: TSLA) reported third-quarter financial results after markets closed on Wednesday. This company has traded at the Elon Musk premium for a while, but it looks like it paid off this quarter with Tesla setting new records for vehicle production, deliveries and revenue.

The company noted that starting this quarter, its financial releases no longer include the non-GAAP revenue disclosures that it had historically provided. This may slightly throw off estimates for this quarter, but overall the news looks positive.

In the report, Tesla said that it had $0.71 in non-GAAP earnings per share (EPS) and $2.30 billion in  GAAP revenue. The consensus estimates from Thomson Reuters called for $0.09 in EPS and $2.35 billion in revenue. The same period from last year reportedly had a net loss of $0.58 per share on $1.24 billion in revenue.

The final third-quarter delivery count was 24,821, over 300 more than the estimated delivery count Tesla shared on October 2. Deliveries increased 114% from the third quarter of 2015 and were comprised of 16,047 Model S and 8,774 Model X vehicles. Additionally, 5,065 vehicles were in transit to customers at the end of the quarter, and these vehicles will be delivered in the fourth quarter.

Cash flow from operations during the quarter was $424 million from increased sales, coupled with careful expense management. Free cash flow was $176 million as Tesla invested $248 million in capital expenditures to increase production capacity, accelerate Gigafactory construction and expand customer support infrastructure.

With such strong cash flows this quarter, the firm was able to reduce the balances on its borrowing facilities by $178 million and settle $422 million of conversions on its 2018 convertible notes, strengthening its balance sheet. After this $600 million in debt repayment, cash and cash equivalents totaled $3.1 billion at quarter end, versus $3.2 billion at the end of the second quarter.

In terms of the outlook, Tesla maintained its guidance of 50,000 new vehicle deliveries for the second half of 2016 with a fourth-quarter plan of just over 25,000 deliveries. The company more or less maintained guidance from its second quarter, except now it expects capital expenditures for 2016 will be $1.8 billion. Capital expenditures for the past three quarters totaled $759 million.

The consensus estimates for the fourth quarter are $0.48 in EPS and $2.67 billion in revenue.

Shares of Tesla closed Wednesday at $202.34, with a consensus analyst price target of $230.00 and a 52-week trading range of $141.05 to $269.34. Following the release of the earnings report, the stock was up 5.8% at $213.98 in the after-hours session.

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