Tesla’s 4Q net loss doubles but shares up on outlook

Dee-Ann Durbin Associated Press

Tesla Motors posted its 11th straight quarterly loss Wednesday, and its results badly missed Wall Street’s forecasts. But the electric car maker’s shares soared anyway on news that its lower-priced Model 3 sedan is on schedule to be released next year.

Tesla said it will unveil the much-anticipated $35,000 car on March 31 and expects to start production at the end of 2017. After state and federal tax incentives, the car could cost $25,000.

Tesla’s shares had fallen in recent days as investors worried that the Model 3 would be delayed. Investors also weren’t happy with the slow ramp-up of Tesla’s new Model X SUV. The company delivered only 206 SUVs in the fourth quarter and it curtailed production last month to work out some quality issues.

But Tesla said Wednesday that it’s accelerating Model X production and expects to produce 1,000 SUVs per week by the second quarter.

Tesla shares rose 13 percent in after-hours trading to $163.07. They are down 40 percent this year through the close of regular-session trading Wednesday.

Tesla lost $889 million, or $6.93 per share, for the full year. That compared to a loss of $294 million, or $2.36 per share, in 2014. Palo Alto, California-based Tesla, which was founded in 2003, has never made a full-year profit.

In the fourth quarter, Tesla’s net loss more than doubled to $320 million, hurt by the lower-than-planned Model X production. The loss, of $2.44 per share, compared to a loss of 86 cents per share in the same quarter a year ago.

Tesla delivered just over 50,000 vehicles for the year, up 60 percent from 2014. The company said it plans to deliver between 80,000 and 90,000 vehicles this year.

Tesla said revenue rose 27 percent to $1.2 billion for the fourth quarter as worldwide deliveries of its Model S sedan increased by more than 70 percent.

For the full year, Tesla’s revenue rose 26 percent to $4 billion.

Tesla says unadjusted figures do not reflect its true performance because accounting rules limit how it records revenue for leases. On an adjusted basis, the company lost $2.30 per share for the year, missing Wall Street’s estimate of a $1.25 per-share loss. Its fourth-quarter loss of 87 cents also far surpassed Wall Street’s estimate of a 16 cent loss.

Tesla’s adjusted full-year revenue of $5.29 billion also missed analysts’ forecast of $5.38 billion.