Tesla beats earnings forecasts despite supply chain crisis

The electric carmaker, led by billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk, said quarterly revenue rose to $11.96bn from $6.04bn a year earlier.

Shares of the world's most valuable automaker were up 1.3 percent in extended trade [File: Shannon Stapleton/Reuters]
Shares of the world's most valuable automaker were up 1.3 percent in extended trade [File: Shannon Stapleton/Reuters]

Electric carmaker Tesla Inc on Monday beat Wall Street expectations for second-quarter profit and revenue as record deliveries offset the effect of a prolonged global shortage of chips and raw materials.

Shares of the world’s most valuable automaker were up 1.3 percent in extended trade.

The company said it expected to launch production this year of Model Y SUV in Texas and Germany, but would delay the launch of the Semi until 2022. Still, despite the pandemic and the supply chain crisis that have marred the auto industry, Tesla posted record deliveries during the quarter, thanks to sales of cheaper models including Model 3 sedans and Model Y crossovers.

The carmaker, led by billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk, said revenue jumped to $11.96bn from $6.04bn a year earlier, when its US factory was shut down for more than six weeks due to local lockdown orders aimed at curbing the spread of the coronavirus.

Analysts had expected revenue of about $11.3bn, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk, however, said a global chip shortage that led to temporary factory shutdowns for the automaker, remains serious, and offered no details on the timing of its Cybertruck and next-generation batteries.

For the first time since late 2019, Tesla profits did not rely on sales of environmental credits to other automakers, a sign of increasing financial health for the manufacturing operation.

Resolving shortages

In a call with investors and analysts, Tesla executives said that volume production growth for this year will depend on parts availability, as it aims to grow deliveries by more than 50 percent.

Musk said Tesla has “many calls at midnight, 1 am, just with suppliers about resolving a lot of the shortages.”

While some people had suggested Tesla build its own chip fab, he pointed to the long leadtime. “That would take us, even moving like lightning, 12 to 18 months,” he said.

Excluding items, Tesla posted a profit of $1.45 per share, easily topping analyst expectations for a profit of 98 cents per share.

Tesla said operating income increased mainly due to volume growth and cost reduction, which offset “additional supply chain costs, lower regulatory credit revenue” and other items including $23m in losses on investment in cryptocurrency bitcoin.

Tesla’s profitability has often relied on selling regulatory credits to other automakers, but in the second quarter, Tesla was profitable without these credits for the first time since the end of 2019. Its GAAP net income was $1.14bn in the second quarter. Revenue from the credits only totaled $354m.

“Tesla impressed with its numbers, as most of its revenue came from vehicle sales,” Jesse Cohen, senior analyst at Investing.com, said.

Tesla said it is “on track to build our first Model Y vehicles in Berlin and Austin in 2021”. But it said it has delayed the launch of the Semi truck program to 2022 “to better focus on these factories, and due to the limited availability of battery cells and global supply chain challenges”.

In an aside, Musk said he “most likely will not be on earnings calls” going forward to discuss financial results with investors and analysts. These calls have been a colorful quarterly ritual Musk has used for discourses on Tesla technology, or to fire back at rivals or critics.

Source: Reuters

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