Thursday, February 21, 2013

Tesla: Analysts Weigh In (TSLA)

The stock is down 8.87% at $35.12.
I've seen a couple comments today that were very close to schadenfreude and have a word of advice (from June 2012):
What is Tesla Motors Worth? (TSLA)
 Yesterday the stock closed at $29.66.

Although it is smack dab in our Energy/Policy/Alt wheelhouse we have very few posts on Tesla.
On a personal level I didn't have much interest in government subsidized $100K playthings.
On the other hand, as an investment the stock always seemed to be in stronger hands* than the battery companies or other fashion-forward issues, poo-pooing it didn't seem like good advice for our readers.
So I didn't post much on TSLA.
Here's some simple straight ahead reporting from Barron's:
Unplug Tesla

Investors hit the brakes after the electric-car maker announced a larger-than-expected fourth-quarter loss.
..."We believe meaningful challenges lie ahead for Tesla and expect demand for electric vehicles to remain tepid until technology evolves and consumers are not forced to pay a premium or sacrifice convenience," writes Bank of America Merrill Lynch analyst John Lovallo, who downgraded the stock from Neutral to Underperform Thursday, and lowered his EPS estimates for 2013, given the disappointing quarter.

Tesla has not reported a profit on a quarterly or annual basis since it went public in 2010, although the company said it expects to be in the black in the first quarter, on an adjusted basis. Analysts are still guiding for a 17-cent-per-share loss.

JPMorgan's Ryan Brinkman maintained his Neutral rating on the stock following the results, as well as his skepticism that Tesla will finally be able to report earnings so soon. "While gross margin tracked slightly better than our model in the fourth quarter, we are unsure Tesla will be able to realize as great an amount of manufacturing cost savings, with inefficiencies continuing to be driven by premium labor, premium freight, and unabsorbed overhead costs."...MORE
*From our June 29, 2010 post "Who Wins in the Tesla IPO?" (TSLA):
...Herbert Kohler, member of Tesla’s Board of Directors since May 2009. Heads up electric vehicle development for Daimler and serves as VP of Blackstar Investco, owned 60:40 by Daimler and Abu Dhabi’s Aabar Investments. If Musk leaves the CEO post before 2013, his replacement has to beapproved by Kohler under Tesla’s financing agreement with Daimler.

Steve Jurvetson, member of Tesla’s Board of Directors since June 2009, representing VC firm Draper Fisher Jurvetson, where he is managing director. Jurvetson is also a director of Musk’s SpaceX....