What Is Driving Tesla Earnings

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Tesla Inc. (NASDAQ: TSLA) reported fourth-quarter financial results after markets closed Wednesday. The company said that it had a net loss of $3.04 per share on $3.29 billion in revenue, which compares with consensus estimates from Thomson Reuters that called for a net loss of $3.12 per share on revenue of $3.28 billion. The same period of last year reportedly had a $0.69 per share net loss and $2.28 billion in revenue.

During the fourth quarter, Tesla deployed 143 megawatt hours (Mwh) of energy storage products, growing 45% from the fourth quarter of 2016. The firm’s deployment of 129 MWh of energy storage in South Australia will be recognized in the first quarter based on commercial transfer of the site to the customer.

Also in this time, automotive revenue increased by 36% year over year, mainly due to 35% growth in vehicle deliveries. For the 2017 full year, automotive revenue was up 52%.

Service and other revenue decreased by 5% sequentially but increased by 81% year over year. Used car sales were the main driver of this year-over-year growth.

As for the autos, Tesla delivered 28,425 Model S and Model X vehicles and 1,542 Model 3 vehicles, totaling 29,967 deliveries. Combined Model S and Model X net orders in the quarter were just shy of the third quarter’s all-time high. Importantly, combined orders for Model S and Model X grew significantly in 2017 compared to 2016.

Looking ahead, Elon Musk is predicting growth in the Model S and Model X production rates:

We continue to target weekly Model 3 production rates of 2,500 by the end of Q1 and 5,000 by the end of Q2. It is important to note that while these are the levels we are focused on hitting and we have plans in place to achieve them, our prior experience on the Model 3 ramp has demonstrated the difficulty of accurately forecasting specific production rates at specific points in time. What we can say with confidence is that we are taking many actions to systematically address bottlenecks and add capacity in places like the battery module line where we have experienced constraints, and these actions should result in our production rate significantly increasing during the rest of Q1 and through Q2.

The consensus estimates call for a net loss of $2.39 per share on $3.6 billion in revenue for the first quarter.

On the books, the company ended the quarter with a cash balance of $3.4 billion.

Shares of Tesla closed Wednesday up 3.3% at $345.00, with a consensus analyst price target of $314.17 and a 52-week range of $242.01 to $389.61. Following the announcement, the stock was up 2% at $352.22 in the after-hours trading session.