Tesla third-quarter loss doubles to $75 million, shares jump

By Reuters

Nov 05, 2014 09:06 PM EST

Tesla Motors Inc (TSLA.O) shares rose more than 7 percent in after-hours trading on Wednesday after the electric-car maker beat analysts' expectations for third-quarter results.

The automaker said its quarterly loss nearly doubled from a year ago to $75 million, as manufacturing, sales and development expenses increased to meet rising demand for its Model S sedan.

The company also said production of its next vehicle, the Model X crossover, will be delayed again by several months until the autumn of 2015, "to get all of the details right," according to Chief Executive Elon Musk.

Tesla shares rose after-hours, however, as non-GAAP income of 2 cents a share beat Wall Street's consensus view of a loss of 1 cent per share.

Tesla said its net loss was 60 cents a share, compared with a net loss of 32 cents a year ago.

"Tesla needs to grow dramatically if it wants to remain a high flyer on the stock market," said Matt DeLorenzo, managing editor of Kelley Blue Book. "The bigger challenge is next year's launch of the Model X, which will boost sales and revenue."

Tesla's third-quarter revenue doubled to $852 million, while operating expenses climbed to $291 million.

The company delivered a record 7,785 Model S sedans in the quarter, most of them in North America.

In a shareholder letter on Wednesday, Musk said Tesla still expects to build 35,000 Model S sedans this year and deliver 33,000. Model S sales next year are expected to rise 50 percent, to nearly 50,000, Musk said.

Tesla expects to maintain that annual growth rate on the Model S "probably for several years to follow," Musk and Chief Financial Officer Deepak Ahuja said in the shareholder letter.

Research and development spending climbed as Tesla added a new dual-motor version of the Model S and readied the Model X crossover for production later in 2015. Tesla originally planned to introduce the Model X in 2013, but has delayed its launch at least three times.

The company said it is investing an unspecified amount to increase production at its Fremont plant in Northern California to more than 2,000 vehicles per week by the end of 2015.

Tesla has earmarked about $350 million in the fourth quarter for capital expenditures, including the Fremont plant expansion and for construction of a multibillion-dollar battery factory it is building in Nevada with Panasonic Corp (6752.T).

Musk said Panasonic's contribution to the battery factory will be $1.5 billion to $2 billion. He said construction is slightly ahead of schedule with initial production of battery cells to begin in 2016.

In a conference call with analysts on Wednesday, Musk said, "We don't see any near-term need to raise money."

Tesla shares rose as high as $249.30 in after-hours trading on Wednesday, then settled around $247.25, up 7.1 percent from the closing price of $230.97.

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