Original Article By Martin Baccardax At TheStreet.com

Tesla  (TSLA) – Get Tesla Inc Report shares surged Thursday after the carmaker posted stronger-than-expected first quarter profits, record sales and bullish near-term outlook that defied Wall Street’s forecasts and powered-through surging input prices and supply chain chaos.

CEO Elon Musk indicated there was a “reasonable shot” for 2022 deliveries to rise 60% from last year, noting the ramp-up of production facilities in Berlin and Austin, following a surprisingly solid first quarter that saw automotive profit margins rise to 30%, record sales of $18.76 billion and a stronger-than-expected bottom line of $3.22 per share.

Tesla said on April 2 that first quarter global deliveries rose 67.8% from last year to a record 310,048 units, just shy of analysts’ forecasts of and only 0.5% from the final three months of 2021. 

Current quarter deliveries should be flat when compared to the first three months of the year, Tesla said, even with the multi-week shutdown of its Shanghai gigiafactory — which made around half of the group’s cars last year — amid China’s ‘zero Covid’ crackdown. The full-year delivery estimate stands at 1.47 million units.

“I’d like to thank the Tesla employees for their hard work, but also I’d like to thank our suppliers who’ve really gone the extra mile<” Musk told investors on a conference call late Wednesday. “We have an amazing supplier group and I would say a heartfelt thanks to the suppliers that have really worked day and night to ensure that Tesla is able to keep the factories running.”

“We are growing very rapidly year-over-year and remain confident of exceeding 50% annual growth for the foreseeable future for basically several of the next years,” Musk added. “The future is very exciting. I have never been more optimistic or excited about Tesla’s future than I am right now.”

Tesla shares were marked 7.25% higher in early Thursday trading to change hands at $1,049.00 each.

“The highlight of the 1Q beat was a robust gross margin, far exceeding street expectations,” said Credit Suisse analyst Dan Levy, who carries an ‘outperform’ rating with a $1,125 price target on the stock. “The improvement was a surprise to us, which we did not see as a possibility in the face of sharply rising cost inflation.”

“While we expect 2Q margin to compress given the Shanghai shutdown and ramp of the Berlin and Austin facilities, we nevertheless expect margin recovery in future quarters,” he added.

Tesla also revealed plans for what Musk has dubbed a ‘Robotaxi’, a fully-autonomous vehicle he says will be built without pedals or a steering wheel. Musk said volume production will begin in Austin by 2024, adding that it will be a “massive driver of Tesla’s growth.”

Musk’s appearance on the investor call, however, did not elicit any questions regarding his interest in Twitter  (TWTR) – Get Twitter, Inc. Report, even as he is expected to use at least a portion of his stake in the clean-energy car company to finance his $43 billion takeover of the micro-blogging website.

The New York Post reported Tuesday that Musk is prepared to put up between $10 billion and $15 billion of his estimated $300 billion fortune to buy Twitter, which he has said is worth $54.20 per share, but is facing difficulty in convincing other investment partners to fund his acquisition.

Earlier media reports suggested that Apollo Global Management has expressed willingness to use its credit investment platform to support any move to buy the micro-blogging website, including Musk’s unsolicited $43 billion take-private proposal.

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