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Tesla Doesn’t Need Money, Unless It Does

Quarterly filing language suggests funding needs.

by on May.08, 2018

Tesla's Elon Musk denied the company needed money during a recent earnings call.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk recently told analysts and journalists using a tone of voice that could be described as “certain” and “annoyed” that the electric vehicle company he founded doesn’t need any more money.

That is unless it does.

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In the company’s latest 10Q filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission Tesla said, “If we cannot raise additional funds when we need or want them, our operations and prospects could be negatively affected.”

“We need sufficient capital to fund our ongoing operations” for both Tesla and SolarCity, the filing said. “We cannot be certain that additional funds will be available to us on favorable terms when required, or at all.”

(One in five Americans want an electric vehicle. Click Here for the story.) 

During the same call where Musk denied money issues, he discussed plans for a new plant.

So does Tesla need money or not? Well, yes, is probably the truest answer. Tesla officials note that the language is boilerplate and has been used in previous 10-Q filings, and does not represent any change from the norm.

And a scan of previous filings reveals that to be true. However, when the company reports record losses of nearly $800 million during the last quarter, with higher than ever revenue of $3.4 billion. The question is going to get asked — and it was by Sanford Bernstein analyst Toni Sacconaghi.

Musk, who usually has a relaxed tenor during these calls, took a markedly different approach to the query. “Excuse me. Next. Boring, bonehead questions are not cool. Next?”

(Click Here for details about Tesla’s earnings call.)

Musk suggested the company would be producing as many as 6,000 Model 3s weekly the near future.

That mood carried on throughout the call, only raising the concern level of those listening to it.

“These questions are so dry, they’re killing me,” he interjected before dismissing one analyst’s questions. Musk later shifted his disdain to reporters, at one point suggesting that by questioning the safety of Tesla’s current, semi-autonomous version of Autopilot, reporters might convince drivers to turn it off “and then die.”

(For more on Tesla’s first-quarter earnings, Click Here.)

Despite his most optimistic comments, Musk’s edginess helped reverse the initially upbeat response to Tesla’s record, $784.6 million, or $4.19 a share, loss – which was actually a bit better than Wall Street’s consensus forecast. Shares surged after the earnings were released, but then tumbled sharply, quickly wiping out almost $2 billion in market capitalization.

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One Response to “Tesla Doesn’t Need Money, Unless It Does”

  1. JAE says:

    He doesn’t deal with pressure well…he’s such a Sheldon.