Will Tesla Have to Take on More Debt?

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Tesla Inc. (NASDAQ: TSLA) is under fire yet again. This time it’s not Elon Musk’s tweets or another fatal crash, but an influential financial group believes that Tesla may have to tap capital markets for a nice chunk of change by 2020 — that is, if the company wants to fund its auto operations.

The company has options for raising these funds, whether it’s new bonds, convertible notes or equity. However, each of these options has a downside for investors.

According to Goldman Sachs analyst, David Tamberrino:

We see several options available to the company to refinance maturing debt and raise incremental funds, which should allow Tesla to fund its growth targets. However, issuing incremental debt (including priming current creditors with secured debt) may weigh on the credit profile of the company while issuing additional equity or convertibles at lower premiums would dilute current shareholders.

In an effort to stave this off, Musk is frantically cutting costs across the board and doing some restructuring within the company, insistent that he should not have to raise more funds — at least not this year.

Bloomberg believes the math is sound for that claim, but there could be issues:

Tesla’s view that it doesn’t require a debt or equity raise this year is mathematically correct, but highly imprudent from a credit and risk perspective if followed

Goldman Sachs has a Sell rating with a $195 price target, implying a downside of 32% from Wednesday’s closing price of $286.48.

Shares of Tesla were last seen trading at $287.79 on Thursday, with a consensus analyst price target of $316.92 and a 52-week range of $244.59 to $389.61.