Tesla Motors expected to record 63 cents-a-share loss in fourth quarter 2011

Article by Anita Panait, on February 15, 2012

Tesla Motors Inc. is expected to post a 63 cents-a-share loss for the fourth quarter of 2011, higher than the 47 cents-a-share loss for the same period in 2010, according to average estimate of 12 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg News.  The losses are mainly attributed to the winding down of the production and sales of its $109,000 Roadster electric cars.

The company is expected to continue its loss-making ways until mid-2012, when it commences the production of its Tesla Model S sedan.

Until then, the company’s revenues will have to rely on supplying battery packs and other components to Toyota Motor Corp. and Daimler AG, two of Tesla’s investors. The company is expected to recover from the losses as soon as it starts selling the Model S, the base model of which is priced at $57,400.

“We do expect the roll-off of the Model S to be a headwind to contend with until later this year," Amir Rozwadowski, an analyst with Barclays Capital, said in an interview with Bloomberg News.

He rates Tesla’s shares as "overweight." Tesla plans to produce up to 20,000 units of the Model S in 2012. The company has said that it expects Model S sales to help it achieve its first-time profit as early as 2013.

"We believe Tesla is at the cusp of becoming a self- sustaining company, in terms of revenue, with a crisp execution of the Model S launch," remarks Rozwadowski, who forecasts that Tesla will post a 62 cents-per-share loss in the fourth quarter of 2011.

Tesla unveiled its Model X sports car concept last week. It has also started taking reservations for the model. Palo Alto, Calif.-based Tesla, named after inventor Nikola Tesla, aims to become a major seller of premium electric vehicles.

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