Tesla reports smaller loss than expected, slows cash burn

Mark Brake/GettyTesla CEO Elon Musk

  • Tesla reported a smaller-than-expected loss and beat on revenue in the fourth quarter.
  • The company reaffirmed its production targets for the Model 3 sedan, and expects to produce 5,000 cars per week by the end of Q2.
  • Tesla’s shares gained about 1.5% after the earnings report.

Tesla on Wednesday reported a smaller-than-expected loss for the fourth quarter and beat on revenues.

The company earned $US3.29 billion in revenue but recorded a net loss of $US770.8 million, or $US3.04 adjusted per share. In its earnings release, Tesla said it expected 2018 revenue growth to “significantly exceed” last year, driven by the Model 3 sedans and its energy-storage units.

Analysts had expected another quarter of losses and cash burn at the company; the median forecast was for an adjusted loss per share of $US3.20 on revenues of $US3.28 billion, according to Bloomberg. Tesla burned through cash during the quarter with a negative free cash flow of $US276.8 million. However, this was down from the same period a year ago, and less than analysts had expected. Tesla burned through a record $US1.42 billion in the third quarter.

Tesla reaffirmed its forecast for Model 3 production at a rate of 2,500 vehicles by the end of the first quarter, and 5,000 by the end of Q2. The company is working to keep the rollout of its mass-market Model 3 on schedule, but has a history of missing its timelines and Wall Street’s forecasts.

Last month, Tesla said it delivered 1,550 cars in the fourth quarter, a little more than half of what analysts had expected.

Tesla’s shares gained 46% last year and nearly 11% in 2018 through Wednesday’s close even after the broader stock market decline, giving the the company a market cap of $US58 billion. The electric carmaker’s valuation has been an eyesore for some on Wall Street who compare it to profitable giants in the auto industry like General Motors.

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