Tesla: taking a step back – Financial Times

Tesla: taking a step back – Financial Times


After sitting at home for the past six weeks, you’d be forgiven for thinking the laws of time had been suspended. Hours spill into days, days into weekends, weekends into weeks. We’re not sure if it’s Thursday or Monday, to be quite honest. For that matter, who cares?

Sceptical followers of Tesla, the $153bn electric car company, might be forgiven for feeling the same.

Its first-quarter results, announced Wednesday, ticked all the boxes Alphaville had come to expect from the company Elon Musk claims to have founded.

There was a surprise profit, which can be wholly explained by the sale of regulatory credits; an accounts receivable balance unaffected by a 19 per cent quarter-on-quarter decline in revenues; a yearly operating cost decline of 13 per cent despite a new factory opening up; and, of course, a free cash flow burn of $895m.

(There was also some more conference call shenanigans which we won’t touch on. We’ll leave that for Corona Tools Friday.)

Yet when we began to write the Alphaville take this morning, it all felt a little repetitive. It was as if we were writing the same article, but just at a different time. Loopy.

So instead of diving in to the numbers, as we often do, Alphaville thought we’d take a step back and take a moment to ruminate on Tesla’s current valuation and whether it actually makes any sense.

Tesla, at pixel, is trading at $830 per share after